Thursday, March 25th, my new book Living Strong with Cerebral Palsy: The True Story of Amanda Forry-Fino is released. Living Strong with CP was a lot of work to write, so I’m very excited to get it out there. which I began writing on the day following my 27th birthday, and which will be published 13 days before my 31st birthday.
Although some chapters of the book have been challenging for me to write, somehow I managed it. So many people have asked me to write my life and how I live with my Cerebral Palsy, overcoming it. To me, having CP I have to overcome it each day. Writing it was very challenging for me because I knew I never wanted to return to what I had experienced in my past. Essentially, I was motivated to write it because I would like for other people to look at people with disabilities differently. In support of National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day, I gave away book copies to people who ordered shirts from #cpdreamteam. It bothers me that most of the #cpdreamteam shits were purchased by parents for their children. That’s unfair since my book contains language and content that children or minors might not understand. Leading me to adapt my book to be family-friendly. Having revised the early memories into a revised opening and climax within a few days, the book eventually came into its own, Cerebral Palsy Gal.
In order to spread awareness for Cerebral Palsy, I’ve been wanting to do a getting to know you questions and answers post blog on my life living with Cerebral Palsy, as a disability advocate, CP Gal and a Adult Multi-Genre Author thought, my unique outlook on the world throw my eyes. I had answer 100 questions, being Real 100% myself. Showing and teaching others to look at me as a another human bean that has a illness.
Who is your hero? Helen Keller for many reasons.
If you could live anywhere, where would it be? Living in a beach condos complex with all of the hotel amenities.
What is your biggest fear? Having no family at the end of my life. Living a home.
What is your favorite family vacation? 2019- Buffalo New York or my 2005 Yellowstone, Jackson Hole, and Mt. Rushmore trip.
What would you change about yourself if you could? My very bad temper.
What really makes you angry? when people talk to me like I’m a baby- when I am 30 years old. One gold of mine; Is to teach people that I have CP yet, I’m just like anyone else.
What motivates you to work hard? My disability advocate, being a voice for others.
What is your favorite thing about your career? The book review I enjoy the most seeing if some point out the message that I put into my book.
What is your biggest complaint about your job? No money since everyone can write a book now.
What is your proudest accomplishment? I have to go with the standing ovation that I got at the Washington DC Author Dinner Group.
What makes you laugh the most? Dirty jokes.
What was the last movie you went to? What did you think? 52 pick-up (1986) and thank god it wasn’t on when I was a teen since John Glover was my teenage heartthrob so I had to watch all his movies but this one and I’m going to say I am happy that my 16-year-old self didn’t saw it until age 30.
What did you want to be when you were small? A teacher.
If you could choose to do anything for a day, what would it be? Shopping with unlimitedcash in my pocket.
What is your favorite game or sport to watch and play? I’m more of an artiest gal than a sports fan.
Would you rather ride a bike, ride a horse, or drive a car? None of those- I love walking in my woods or my old down town.
What would you sing at Karaoke night? whatever is cool with me, by the way, when is Karaoke night?
What two radio stations do you listen to the most? 70’s hit’s and 2000’s hits!
If you could hire someone to help you, would it be with cleaning, cooking, or yard work? All of the above since to my Cerebral Palsy.
If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be? Potato, apples, and a type of meat.
Who is your favorite author? So many great minds to just pick just only one.
Have you ever had a nickname? What is it? Yes, so many nicknames I have gotten over these 30 years. I love giving a nickname to everyone and everything! don’t mind my oddness.
Do you like or dislike surprises? Why or why not? I shall say when someone does surprise me.
In the evening, would you rather play a game, visit a relative, watch a movie, or read? Relax with a good movie!
Would you rather vacation in Hawaii or Alaska, and why? Why do I need to pick one, when I want to go to each of them in my lifetime?
Would you rather win the lottery or work at the perfect job? The perfect Job, I go NUTS if I have nothing to look forward to or a deadline to meet.
Who would you want to be stranded with on a deserted island? I’m taking the fifth on this question. I shall keep a little mystery to myself! 😛
If money was no object, what would you do all day? To work on things for the greater good for all people with a disability and still write my stories.
If you could go back in time, what year would you travel to? I always had thought about going be in the time… To when Jesus of Nazareth walks this earth.
How would your friends describe you? Ask them and not me… I hope they will tell you kinds of nice things about me.
What are your hobbies? Writing, swimming, making up stories in my head, walking, dancing, on, and on. It’s would be a much bigger list to add all my hobbies.
What is the best gift you have been given? The necklaces that my grandma gave me on my 24th birthday.
What is the worst gift you have received? I chose to not tell.
Aside from necessities, what one thing could you not go a day without? The internet!!!
List two pet peeves. When people pity me and when someone treats me like a little kid, like why I’m 30.
Where do you see yourself in five years? All I know everything happens for an unknowable reason. A year ago I won’t believe how much different Covid19 had changed that much.
How many pairs of shoes do you own? Don’t even know! That’s a woman for you
If you were a spur-hero, what powers would you have? Mind-reading, being fast and flying. That would be sweet!
What would you do if you won the lottery? My winning will be donated to help find a cure for Cerebral Palsy.
What form of public transportation do you prefer? (air, boat, train, bus, car, etc.) Airplane, I love being able to fly on my own, not to add being VIP at the airports, way fun.
What’s your favorite zoo animal? Gorillas. I just love them.
If you could go back in time to change one thing, what would it be? To not have that sleepover with that old woman.
If you could share a meal with any 4 individuals, living or dead, who would they be? Dinner with Robert De Niro, Sigourney weaver one night, and the next night, my birth-father and God-Grandpa Rocky talking to them all night long.
How many pillows do you sleep with? 3!
What’s the longest you’ve gone without sleep? Over 24 hours and a full day.
What’s the tallest building you’ve been to the top in? I can’t think of one off the top of my head now.
Would you rather trade intelligence for looks or looks for intelligence? I really have no answer to this question. Love people just the way they are.
How often do you buy clothes? Whenever the mood bit me. LOL!
Have you ever had a secret admirer? Yes, I did. That’s all I can tell you.
What’s your favorite holiday? Going with Easter.
What’s the most daring thing you’ve ever done? Wrote my whole life story, tell all for people to read, Cerebral Palsy Gal.
What was the last thing you recorded on TV? I’ve downloaded Hamilton off of Disney+ dose that count?
What was the last book you read? I don’t know really need to make a plan to start reading. It’s had to find time to just sit and read.
What’s your favorite type of foreign food? Hands down, Mexican.
Are you a clean or messy person? let’s say I’m haft-and-haft when it comes done to it.
Who would you want to play you in a movie of your life? Hmm, I been thinking that Jennifer Lawrence or Amanda Seyfried can portray me and my Cerebral Palsy, pretty good.
How long does it take you to get ready in the morning? it’s all depends on my day. I’m not a woman that wears any make-up. I want to grow older with grace.
What kitchen appliance do you use every day? Spoon and Fork, since I can’t cook.
What’s your favorite fast-food chain? In-N-Out Burger, yet you can only find one in California, Nevada, and Arizona in a few cities. Bummer I can go for one now.
What’s your favorite family recipe? My Grandma’s Forry’s potato and cabbage mix that we all call Guppy.
Do you love or hate rollercoasters? No HATE them.
What’s your favorite family tradition? Hard to say now without becoming sad.
What is your favorite childhood memory? Going camping with my Girl Scout’s troop- I have to say.
What’s your favorite movie? No brainer; Casino (1995)
How old were you when you learned Santa wasn’t real? At age 9 I think, my mom just told me in the car, I can’t seem to remember how I felt about it.
Is your glass half-full or half-empty? It’s empty now, need a re-fill hold on.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of love? Just wait until you read CP Gal 2.0 to find out.
What three items would you take with you on a deserted island? Hard to say… past on this.
What was your favorite subject in school? Ah, History! I am a hands-on learner.
What’s the most unusual thing you’ve ever eaten? Going with eating sea squid at my big 25 birthday party. Just want to be cool at my own party, since everyone was eating it. Turn out that I love it.
Do you collect anything? To said now no, yet in the past I have.
Is there anything you wished would come back into fashion? None that I can think of.
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Depend on my mood. I know one thing I just hate; being all alone with no one to talk to.
Which of the five senses would you say is your strongest? I’m going with smell for this on.
Have you ever had a surprise party? (that was an actual surprise) Nope, can say that I have.
Are you related or distantly related to anyone famous? I’m a direct descendant ofLady Godiva from my mother’s father’s side.
What do you do to keep fit? Walking and swimming.
Does your family have a “motto” – spoken or unspoken? It’s your thing do what you want to because it’s your thing!
If you were ruler of your own country what would be the first law you would introduce? Everyone will be teared the same, equity.
Who was your favorite teacher in school and why? Ms. Santana and why, she was the only one that really taught me. We’re still in touch.
What three things do you think of the most each day? My three things are coffee with my friend, working to build a better further. Movie time with my Dad.
If you had a warning label, what would yours say? WARNING THIS GAL CAN BE YOU NEXT BEST FRIEND IF YOU CAN SEE PASS HER CEREBRAL PALSY. IF YOU CAN’T PLEASE LEAVE HER BE. yup that’s label fits me.
What song would you say best sums you up? I’m going with this one; Eyes Open by Taylor Swift.
What celebrity would you like to meet at Starbucks for a cup of coffee? It’s hard to say. Let me think… Shia Labeouf
Who was your first crush? On a boy that 1st grade that I kiss him and knocked his tooth out. I was in hot water after that!
What’s the most interesting thing you can see out of your office or kitchen window? A lovey flower garden that we made as a family.
On a scale of 1-10 how funny would you say you are? I love to think that my friends shall rate me as an 9 and and half on the funny scale! LOL!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? safe and secure, happy, healthy, family. The rest will unfold as I go. I do wonder what next yet I know by now I cant say what or where I be age 40 that’s what make life worth living good or bad.
What was your first job? Filer for my birth-parents shop and boy I had hated it.
If you could join any past or current music group which would you want to join? Arvil Lavinge all the way. since it’s there not any all girl’s music groups that speck to my souls.
How many languages do you speak?Only one, because I have a HARD time speaking my own language. Yet I trying to learn Russian because my adopted mother is Russian.
What is your favorite family holiday tradition? making out my Christmas Cards.
Who is the most intelligent person you know? Hands down my dad Ronald Fino, what a live that he had lead.
If you had to describe yourself as an animal? A gorilla.
What is one thing you will never do again? Online dating. No thanks never ever anging.
Who knows you the best? My grandma Alexander knows me the very best since she knew me since the moment that I pop out of the womb, over 30 years ago.
IT’S ADA 30TH ANNIVERSARY!!!! You’ve invite to celebrate ADA 30TH ANNIVERSARY the Virginia Style. Thank you to Virginia Board for People with Disabilities (VBPD) I’m grateful to be a part of this full jam-pack week, leading up to DAY OF ACTION, SATURDAY, JULY, 25TH, 12PM-2PM
A heartwarming and harrowing tale of life and forbidden love lost to one generation and found in the next. Caught between a turbulent love triangle that shook the very foundations of the Mafia’s Las Vegas Empire, and a deadly struggle for wealth and power, Mob Boss and “King of Las Vegas” Tony Torino, his mistress and onetime showgirl Evelyn Rosenberg, and her husband top Chicago mobster Charlie “Gus” Rosenberg live and love in defiance of the violent and unforgiving laws of the Mafia. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
CP Gal by Amanda Fino
Amanda was born with cerebral palsy
How do you move forward when the past is holding you back? When the abuse from the past affects life choices in the present? Cerebral Palsy Gal is the riveting story of one woman’s quest to come to terms with her health, heartbreak and family. Amanda was born with cerebral palsy. Throughout her life, she struggled against seemingly overwhelming odds to follow her dream – to be a best-selling writer. As a child, she endured appalling physical, mental, and emotional abuse from members of her own family, especially her mother, who could not accept Amanda’s condition. When her father was only fifty-nine, he died of cancer. She found comfort and solace with her grandmother – her “gragwa” as she called her – the only person in her childhood who cared for her. A chance meeting with a former U.S. intelligence officer and his family at a convention in Las Vegas gave Amanda the chance to be part of a loving family she so dearly craved. Cerebral Palsy Gal is the remarkable story of survival against the odds, a poignant, inspiring, and utterly compelling account of one person finding her own voice and, in turn, becoming the voice of those who, through disability, cannot speak for themselves.
A note from Amanda Fino: Keep in mind while reading this, I did not write this fantastic blog, yet I’m highly honored to been asked by Richelle & Heaven to copy and paste this onto my blog. Thank You, Richelle & Heaven, for this privilege. Amanda
What is Cerebral Palsy? There is an AMAZING Platform known as “Social Media.” Near and far we’re all connected. Today, wherever you are, we ask that you close your eyes and picture yourselves in a large Auditorium. Are your eyes still closed? Raise your hands about any of the questions we ask. How many of you are Differently Abled or know someone that is? How many of you have ever been subjected to bullying? How many of you have ever felt alone? How many of you struggle to tell the truth about your feelings due to being an Outcast? Now open your eyes and look around. You’re not ALONE. Today we will speak on the topic of Cerebral Palsy. Have you heard of it? My name is Richelle Heath & I’m here with Heaven Ramsey. We’re Co-Founders of the #CPDreamTeam. Together, we bring awareness to the most common childhood motor disability. Sadly, it’s not recognized the way we would expect in 2020 There are over 17 Million People Worldwide affected by Cerebral Palsy. That estimates to one in every 323 children. We even have our own awareness ribbon. Our color is green. Why is green the color of cerebral palsy awareness? Green is associated with new growth, vibrant lives, and renewal of life! This is because no case of Cerebral Palsy is the same. Each and every one of us are affected differently. This is important because we’re all growing and learning daily, living our vibrant lives in our own, unique individual way. Green symbolizes that for our community of 17 Million Strong.
March is our Month and March 25th is National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day! Let’s address some Misconceptions: First, children with Cerebral Palsy can never learn to walk. This is simply not true. Over half (about 50%-60%) of children with CP can walk independently. Another misconception is that CP is the same for everyone. There are approximately 17 million people worldwide affected by cerebral palsy and no two are affected the same. There is no certain way a person with CP should look or no certain abilities they should or should not have. Finally, a child with cerebral palsy has a limited future. Since thousands of children are affected by cerebral palsy, and a new generation of adults are navigating the world of this disability, this has proven not to be the case. There are many who are affected by CP who are very successful. There are doctors, athletes and even entertainers that live with CP and that’s just a few of the professions. Let me introduce myself… My name is Richelle Heath. I am 43 and I have spastic diplegia cerebral palsy. My journey began in 1976 as an adopted child whose parents knew nothing about cerebral palsy. They were told by a fellow church member that I may have CP because my legs weren’t moving in accordance with typical childhood developmental milestones. After guidance and referrals, I had my first surgery at 2 and my last at 16 years old. My parents gave me every opportunity, regardless of cost and time so that I would have the best chance of walking independently, driving a car, graduating college and working in corporate America. I am proud to say I have accomplished each and every one of those goals. My dream was to be completely independent. The kind of independence that is often taken for granted.
At age 37, I began using Facebook to see if I could find other people with cerebral palsy facing the same daily struggles as I do. I just knew that somewhere out there, others were dealing with similar challenges. As we age with Cerebral Palsy, life gets harder. Doctors who “Treat Cerebral Palsy” are basically non-existent. You can’t cure CP but what you can do is treat the symptoms. Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy and a myriad of medications. It is important to remember that no one with CP is the same. Our bodies are all different & will continue to change, along with our abilities. As you age, disabled or not, your body will continue to break down. That’s life. We ALL need to love ourselves today and every day in the bodies we were given. March is National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month and March 25th is National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day. We all want to be heard, we want to be accepted. We want to be understood and cherished for our differences and experiences because together everyone achieves more.
Heaven’s Story My name is Heaven Ramsey. I am 16 years old and I have mild spastic diplegic cerebral palsy. I started my Facebook awareness page “A Stairway To The Stars: Heaven’s Journey With CP” on May 30, 2013. The decision to share my story has changed my life and allowed me to help others. I made the decision to go back to pageants in 2014, when I realized I cannot encourage others to follow their dreams if I don’t follow my own. I participated in pageants from infancy to age 5 but stopped when an imperfect walk became an issue. Since then I’ve held the titles Little Miss Shining Star 2015, Junior Miss Knox County TN MARS 2017, and Jefferson County Fair’s Fairest of the Fair Miss Beautifully Made 2019. I also recently achieved my dream of participating in my first fashion show and hope to model more in the future. With all this, I am so proud to be the co-creator of the #CPDreamTeam t-shirts for National and World CP Day each year. We’ve had 8 successful campaigns with these shirts and are working on the ninth for National CP Day 2020. It has been an honor and a blessing to watch these t-shirts become a centrical part of our campaign for CP awareness. In conclusion, I hope the take away from my story is that no matter your struggle, you should never let anyone or anything hold you back from reaching for the stars and following your dreams. Richelle & Heaven