He has no control over his limbs, no control over his actions
and movements and has a slur in his speech.
However, there’s one thing he does have control over: His resolve — to study
and become a financial consultant one day.
Saif Shaikh suffers from cerebral
palsy (CP) and needs constant attention to carry out the smallest of chores,
but when it comes to his studies, this 18-year-old needs no help.
He has appeared for the Senior Secondary Examinations (Class XII) through
the National Institute of Open Studies (NIOS) recently.
“He was diagnosed with CP when he was two,” said Saif’s grandmother Rubina
Shaikh, who has been looking after him since the disease was detected.
“As both his mother and father work, Saif has been with me for the past 16
years. I even did a course on how to deal with special children,” said Shaikh.
The youngster who went to a special school till Class V, had to study at home
as none of the schools had any special arrangements for students like him.
However, he never let it affect his resolve. So much so that even after passing
SSC with 56 per cent when he was not given admission to a college close to his
house in Bandra, he would not give up.
“Sometimes people are insensitive to his plight,” said Shaikh. “The authorities
at a school where he appeared for his exams recently made him sit in the corridor
and kept disturbing the writer who sat with him,” she said.
“They did not provide a soft backrest and did not make any effort to make
him feel at ease,” said Shaikh, throwing light on the hardships Saif had to
suffer at the Kandivli centre.
A troubled Saif appeared for the exams and said he felt bad as he could not
finish his accounts paper, a subject which is very dear to him.
In a slurred voice he said: “They gave me the paper 15 minutes late, and kept
disturbing the writer asking her for her credentials.”
“As a result I lost almost 45 minutes and managed to complete only 60 per
cent of the paper,” Saif said ruefully.
The youngster likes to watch movies, write reviews, work on his computer and
solve accountancy problems. But he is afraid of a surgery that will enable him
“I want to walk, run and go to college like every other student but due to
my ailment I will have to stay home and study. But, I will become a financial
consultant even if it takes me 10 years to become one,” Saif said confidently.
Famous people with cerebral palsy
Stephen Hawking: The renowned physicist, has defied time and doctor’s pronouncements
that he would not live two years beyond 21, when he was diagnosed with amyotrophic
The symptoms are very similar to those of CP. A PhD from Cambridge, Stephen
Hawking’s fascination with the study of the universe and laws governing it,
has only grown with the passage of time. His book, A Brief History of Time:
From the Big Bang to Black Holes, is a bestseller.
Jhamak Ghimire: What Helen Keller is to India, Jhamak Ghimire is to Nepal.
Born in 1980 with cerebral palsy, Ghimire did not let it get her down. She learnt
to read and write and became one of the most respected literary figures of Nepal.
Greg Walloch, Chris Fonseca and Geri Jewell: Became comedians, actors, performers
Commission urged to crack down on airline wheelchair policy
June 3, 2005 – A Queensland disability support group wants the Human Rights
and Equal Opportunity Commission to take a hard line against airlines that refuse
A case has been referred to the commission after a man was refused access
on a flight leaving Tasmania, because he was travelling alone.
Bruce Milligan from Queensland’s Cerebral Palsy League says he knows of another
Tasmanian case where two wheelchair athletes were refused plane access.
He says airlines should be helping people rather than barring them from travel.
“A person with a disability also has abilities and that tends to get overlooked
as well,” he said.
“I think they’re the sort of things that airlines need to take into account
– what can they do to assist someone with a disability to travel?”
Man charged over wheelchair theft
June 3, 2005 – A Mt Isa man has been charged over the theft of a nine year-old
girl’s modified wheelchair.
Bronte Hague, who suffers from cerebral palsy, had her wheelchair stolen at
It was handed in to police on Sunday night.
Her father, Ian Hague, says he was shocked to find his daughter’s mode of
transport stolen from their family home.
“You wonder why [someone] would want to take something like that, [a] pushbike
and stuff like that you can…understand, but not a wheelchair,” he said.
A man has been arrested and charged with stealing and is due to appear in
the Mount Isa Magistrates Court later this month.
Police are still investigating whether other people may have been involved
in the theft.
Royal Christmas Company Ornament to Benefit United Cerebral Palsy Programs
for People with Disabilities
United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Birmingham Consumer Zachary Woolley Inspires
Washington, DC, January 3, 2005 – The Royal Christmas Company and Polish designer
Krystyna Gawlik have created a special ornament to benefit United Cerebral Palsy
(UCP). The ornament, which was inspired by United Cerebral Palsy of Greater
Birmingham consumer Zachary Woolley, illustrates the wonder of the holidays
for all children, including those with disabilities.
The hand-crafted ornament reveals the interaction and joy between Santa Claus
and Zachary as the boy receives a gift. The limited edition ornament will be
available for wholesale purchase in early 2005, and will be shown at the Atlanta
International Gift and Home Furnishing Market from January 11-20, 2005.
“Like any youngster, Zach loves Christmas time,” says Michael Woolley, Zachary’s
father and a board member of UCP of Greater Birmingham. “And our whole family
is honored to join in helping United Cerebral Palsy while celebrating the holidays
Zachary, who has cerebral palsy, is 14-years-old and active in his community
and school. He is a determined self-advocate and has worked to educate his community
about disabilities like cerebral palsy. An avid athlete, he is ranked nationally
in the sport of boccia, an official sport of the United States Cerebral Palsy
Bob and Beverly Hitt, owners of the family-operated The Hitt Company, introduced
designer Krystyna Gawlik to Zachary, their grandson, earlier this year. The
Hitt Company is a wholesale representative for the Royal Christmas Company.
Gawlik, who is known for her collection of Faberge style hand-blown ornaments,
was inspired to create a special ornament to benefit United Cerebral Palsy.
After completing her design, Gawlik commissioned Polish carver Mieszko Tylmiesz,
whose daughter Zozia also has cerebral palsy, to bring her concept to life.
“The ornament’s message is about the inclusion of children with disabilities,” says
Gawlik. “I hope every family will be proud to hang this ornament on their Christmas
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Zachary’s ornament will be donated
to United Cerebral Palsy and its national network of affiliates serving and
advocating for people with disabilities.
About United Cerebral Palsy
United Cerebral Palsy is one of the nation’s leading organizations serving
and advocating for the more than 54 million Americans with disabilities. Most
UCP consumers are people with disabilities other than cerebral palsy. Through
its nationwide affiliate network, United Cerebral Palsy offers services to individuals,
families and communities, such as job training and placement, physical therapy,
individual and family support, early intervention, social and recreation programs,
community living, state and local referrals, and instruction on how to use technology
to perform everyday tasks. For more information, call (800) 872-5827.
Sales Contact: Bob and Beverly Hitt
The Hitt Company
Media Contact: Jim Baker
United Cerebral Palsy