STEPtember Talks: Char and two-year-old son, Liam, spread positivity

STEPtember is a global initiative that runs from Sept 4th to Oct 1st, supporting cerebral palsy associations across the world through fitness. Participants are challenged to take 10,000 steps a day while at the same time, collecting donations from friends and family who support their hard work.

Three weeks in, we’ve teamed up with 216 participants and raised $22,380.90!

Thanks to all of organizations, teams and individuals involved, we’re truly making a difference in the disability community in BC.

Meet Char & Liam Stone

Leader of the Stomping Stones, Char Stone, brought together family and friends to take part in the STEPtember initiative in support of CPABC. You might be wondering why they call themselves that, and there’s an adorable answer for it.

The engine that keeps them going is Liam — Char’s two and a half year-old son who was diagnosed with spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy just before his 2nd birthday in January of this year. Liam likes to stomp around versus the traditional walk, which is why the group has made the extra effort to be inclusive of his abilities. Nothing wrong with making a little noise!

While learning more about cerebral palsy, Char Stone was inspired to make a difference in the disability community and has helped us raise over $1,600 to support our organization. We’re incredibly grateful for their tremendous efforts.

Here’s how our conversation went: 

WC: What made you want to get involved with CPABC?

CS: When Liam was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy in January, my family and I began researching support services and information on Cerebral Palsy. We came across your Facebook page and have been following the organization ever since.

WC: STEPtember is all about showing all the different ways you can get active and make a difference in the disability community. What are you planning to do to be active in the month of September?

CS: Lots of walking (Liam loves to sit up high in his hiking backpack) and swimming. Liam loves to swim and we try to go as often as we can. My husband loves to bike, so he will use this opportunity to explore our new neighbourhood.

WC: What advice do you give to someone who is trying to be active, especially parents of children with disabilities?

CS: My biggest piece of advice is to find an activity that you enjoy and can include all family members in. Even if its just a short walk to the mail box every evening after dinner.

WC: You’ve told me how Liam is a big part of your inclination to join us during STEPtember and he’s also a big reason for the strong connection between your family and friends. What kind of impact has he made on your friends and family?

CS: He has made an incredibly positive impact on all our friends and family. He has opened our eyes into a world of tolerance and acceptance that we had never been apart of before. It has been amazing to watch Liam’s older sister interact with him and how it has helped guide her tolerance of other children within her class that have disabilities. I know for myself I have had to learn patience. Not just with Liam in his growth and developmental delays, but with the entire medical system. As a parent of a child with a disability you want them to have the best supports and opportunities as soon as possible and sometimes that isn’t always the case. So patience, has been a huge learning curve.

WC: How has raising Liam shaped your perspective on people with disabilities?

CS: Being blessed with Liam has changed the way our whole family perceived disabilities. To see the personality behind the physical disorder. To learn to share their frustrations and celebrate their joys and accomplishments along side them. To see how proud Liam was of himself when he did is first solo furniture walk or when he crawled up the flight of stairs in our new house all on his own, brings a new joy and love to our hearts. These events for Liam are so much more cherished, because his struggle to complete everyday tasks is so much greater.

WC: What else motivates you to fundraise for STEPtember? Why do these things motivate you?

CS: For our team STEPtember is more than just to raise money for a cause, it’s to create awareness for this disorder. To show the public that CP is such a diverse condition and to open their eyes to the world of possibilities for children like Liam. That he can lead a relatively normal life and share in all the same opportunities that his sister has. When Liam was first diagnosed, we met people who automatically assumed that Liam’s accomplishments in life would be minimal and when they seem him now, they are amazed at how capable his is. Yes, he struggles and he always will, but his determination to be independent has inspired and amazed people. I guess our motivation is to keep proving to people that Liam can and will lead a fulfilled and accomplished life.

WC: What tips would you give to someone who wants to be involved in the disability or CP community?

CS: Utilize social media. There is so much information out there and it is a great chance for networking connections. Talk to people and ask questions, don’t be afraid of the term disability. It sounds totally cliché, but knowledge is power.



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