BY SHERI TRUSTY
The 2019 Port Clinton Firecracker Queen is spending the month of March trying to change the world’s perception of cerebral palsy. Kalli Gregory created Trent’s Triumph, a social initiative designed to educate the public and collect donations that will provide practical resources and support to people with cerebral palsy.
Gregory’s work is inspired by her brother, Trent Gregory, who hasn’t let cerebral palsy keep him from a full and successful life.
March is National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month, and March 25 is National Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day. Throughout the month, Trent’s Triumph is promoting the “Go Green Campaign.”
“We’re encouraging people to put on their favorite green outfit and post a photo on social media with the hashtag #trentstriumph. The photos will bring awareness to cerebral palsy. It’s encouraging people to see some of the faces of cerebral palsy,” Gregory said. “I’m also collecting donations for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance Research Foundation.”
Donations can be made at: gofund.me/d6727660. In March, Gregory will donate 50% of sales of her business, Kalli’s Creative Corner, for Cerebral Palsy Awareness, to the foundation: www.facebook.com/kalliscreativecorner. More information on cerebral palsy can be found at: linktr.ee/trentstriumph.
Kalli and Trent, of Castalia, have always been each other’s cheerleaders.
“When I was in sixth grade, I started advocating for people with cerebral palsy. Any chance I got – whether it was a book report or a presentation – it was always about cerebral palsy. I wanted people to understand it,” Gregory said.
During her senior year at Margaretta High School, Gregory hosted a Cerebral Palsy Awareness Night. She distributed informational pamphlets, and Trent got to run for a ceremonial touchdown at the football game.
“A friend pushed him in his wheelchair. The event went viral and reached over 4,000 people in our area,” she said.
Trent has always been Kalli’s biggest supporter, as well.
“Anything I wanted to do, he backed me 100%. He was at every dance competition, choir concert and pageant, cheering louder than anyone,” Gregory said. “He’s amazing. I couldn’t ask for a better brother.”
The focus of Gregory’s advocacy is an effort to change people’s perceptions of cerebral palsy. People living with the congenital disorder often face the obstacles of public misinformation and hopelessly low expectations. They are sometimes told they can never be functioning, contributing members of society.
“People look at those with cerebral palsy and, because they look different, they assume they’re not smart. That can’t be farther from the truth. Cerebral palsy affects the body’s movement, but it doesn’t affect their ability to think. Trent graduated high school with honors. He is one of the smartest people I know,” Gregory said.
Today, Trent serves as the king and national ambassador for the Beautiful Sunshine Rose Special Needs Pageant. His work takes him all across the United States as an advocate of information and hope.
“He’s been to 48 states,” Gregory said. “He’s also the founder of a “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” fan club. He loves that show.”
Gregory isn’t done being an advocate for people with cerebral palsy. She is embarking on a career that will allow her to help one person at a time.
“I’m studying neuroscience at Bowling Green State University. I want to be a pediatric neurologist so I can directly work with people with cerebral palsy,” she said. “What drove me to this was hearing my mom’s stories about doctors who told her Trent would never be able to do anything. That is so wrong.”