Living with Cerebral Palsy: Overcoming Challenges and Inspiring Others

Today, Friday 6th October is World Cerebral Palsy Day (CP). World CP Day is a global movement that started in 2012 and aims to bring together people living with cerebral palsy.

To mark World CP Day, we are proud to share the story of Matthew Turnock – a Director of St John Ambulance in Gibraltar and advocate for the rights and needs of people with disabilities – who lives with CP. 

“What is Cerebral Palsy (CP)?”

CP is a group of neurological disorders that affect movement, muscle tone, balance, and posture. It is caused by damage to the developing brain, most often before birth. People with CP may experience uncontrolled or unpredictable movements, stiff muscles, weak or tight muscles, and shaky movements or tremors. CP affects the motor system of the body, which can make it difficult to perform certain tasks. For example, I may have difficulty walking or using my hands to perform fine motor tasks like buttoning clothes or picking up utensils.

Matthew Turnock

Despite these challenges, I have been able to lead a normal life with the support of my friends and community. Tremors and stiffness are common symptoms of CP, but they don’t define who I am as a person.

“With the right support and resources, people with CP can overcome these challenges and achieve their goals.”

St John Ambulance has played an important role in my self-actualization. Their ethos emphasises the importance of providing first aid and medical care to those in need. By promoting disability rights and accessibility, we can help ensure that everyone has the opportunity to participate fully in society.

As a council member of Gibraltar and a member of St John Ambulance, I have been able to use my position to promote policies that support the full participation of people with disabilities in society. My experiences with Cerebral Palsy have inspired me to pursue a Masters Course in Leadership and Management, which will enable me to continue advocating for disability rights and accessibility.”

“I hope that my story inspires others to overcome their own challenges and achieve their goals.”