Fundraising to Find a Cure
Associate Board Past President Stephanie Stefanik
Arthur was diagnosed with severe Cerebral Palsy (CP) when he was nine months old. The cause of Arthur’s disability is unknown but my grandparents were told he would not live past his second birthday. In a moment, a family of modest means had to accept the emotional and financial burdens of having a child with CP. At the time, resources for those with the disease were incredibly expensive. My grandfather worked three jobs to pay for Arthur’s care and my grandmother, a University of Chicago alum, devoted her life to changing the way Chicago embraced CP.
Because of their efforts, Arthur inspired a cabinet maker to fashion the early designs of wheelchairs made specifically for people with CP. Legendary Chicago Cubs announcer Jack Brickhouse dedicated a game to Arthur – however because Wrigley Field was not yet wheelchair accessible, he was unable to attend the game.
People with CP sometimes cannot speak, but they are great listeners. I am told Arthur had the most wonderful laugh and loved jokes because it was then that he was able to clearly communicate happiness. Maybe laughter is the best medicine. Arthur lived until he was 29.
I was tremendously proud when the Associate Board agreed to support research at NorthShore that works to prevent and find a cure for cerebral palsy in newborns. Our passion has enabled us to raise and contribute more than $210,000 in the last three years to this cause.