STEPtember Talks: Karen Lai raises $2,156 by week 2 of STEPtember

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.

In the first two weeks, we’ve teamed up with 215 participants and raised $18,296.90!

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

Meet Karen Lai

Karen is a huge supporter of STEPtember and is one of the Canadian ambassadors for this world-wide fundraiser.

We’ve had the pleasure of working Karen for our last few STEPtember fundraisers and she has consistently gone above and beyond for our organization.

She comes through for us yet again and her team has raised over $2,000 in just the second week of the fundraiser! In our conversation she stresses how important being active is and can be. To her, It’s not just about improving physical health, it’s about being social and involved in the community.


WC: What does STEPtember mean to you?

KL: STEPtember means being intentionally more active and hopefully people will build it into their routine. It helps generate more awareness and funds for people living with cerebral palsy. I love to be continuously more active, so being involved in this campaign is a natural fit.

WC: Why are you passionate about contributing to CPABC and the STEPtember program?

KL: Combining active living and cerebral palsy is a natural fit for me, as that embodies my life. Since birth, I have lived with spastic diplegia and being a part of recreation was always the foundation of my life — where I improved my mobility, balance, coordination, and friendships. I believe that movement is the key to aging with cerebral palsy, so this campaign is a good initiative to get people active.

As I am aging, I feel the symptoms of cerebral palsy more – more stiffness, more tightness, more pain, and I move a lot slower. But being active and moving is the best medicine – thank goodness, I love being active! This is what keeps me going amongst my pain.

WC: What inspires you to be a STEPtember ambassador?

KL: I enjoy raising funds for programs that will help others with cerebral palsy active and to gain the love of recreation. I enjoy seeing others participate in recreation, not just for therapeutic reasons or that they have to do it. They do it because they gain the love of recreation and being active, so it becomes second nature to them.

WC: How do you fulfill your fitness goals?

KL: I participate in cardio and weight aerobics classes at Goodlife Fitness four times a week, I bike with my tricycle, go for walks, do yoga, and kayak. Being active is second nature to me and love being a part of a group of friends to do it together.

WC: Do you have any tips on accessible recreation for those who might want to get involved?

KL: Just do it! I find that people define themselves within their limitations of cerebral palsy – I would advise them to just explore it with curiosity. Yes, there are the definitive symptoms of cerebral palsy and all the books tell you so, but no one wrote a book about Karen with cerebral palsy. Only I get to define what this looks like, it is up to me to explore it with curiosity — to push the limits, and if it is not working then it is up to me and the program facilitators, to figure out what works, what will the necessary supports that might be needed in place for me to take part.

Also, it is important for me to be vulnerable – to accept that I have limits and that I can’t do everything myself and I might need support to do things. We all have limits, and that’s fine. I may do stuff in a different way or different pace, and I have to be willing to accept this and get support. Inclusion is a two-way street and this has worked well for me.

WC: Why do you think people should sign up for this program?

KL: It is wonderful to build in activity in your life. It helps promote social connections, self-esteem, self-confidence, self-values, and it helps to accept what you can or cannot do. It is such a fantastic campaign to generate awareness of CP and promotes that people with disabilities can incorporate an active lifestyle.

What kind of advice/encouragement would you give to someone who’s on their way to start this STEPtember initiative?

Just try it – you won’t loose anything, if at all, you will gain something! It’s always a good thing to do something with your friends and expand your social connections within the community.

It’s a short-term commitment and great to generate awareness for CP.



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