Explore UAB

Students/Faculty News Madison R. Etheridge January 10, 2024

Editor’s note: Reprinted from “Pediatric Nursing, 2023, Volume 49, Number 6, p. 265.” Reprinted with permission of the publisher, “Jannetti Publications, Inc.,” East Holly Avenue, Box 56, Pitman, NJ 08071-0056; (856) 256-2300; FAX (856) 589-7463; Web site ; For a sample copy of the journal, please contact the publisher.

Madison Etheridge is the daughter of Sherita Etheridge, member of CEDHARS Stakeholder Advisory Board.

Madison R. Etheridge My name is Madison Etheridge, and I am 15 years old. I was born with cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the brain, which usually occurs during birth. The doctors do not know what caused my cerebral palsy. It affects your movement, muscles, balance, and coordination. It affects people in many ways. There are some people who are affected, and they have a tough time talking and swallowing. It also affects some people’s intellectual ability. Cerebral palsy affected my ability to walk. I have the type of cerebral palsy that causes my body to have spasticity. My muscles are tight, and sometimes, my foot shakes. My doctor calls it the shaking foot clonus. I am unable to walk without assistance. I walk with a walker and sometimes use a wheelchair for long distances.

I am in the 10th grade and attend virtual school. Although challenging, I have taught myself to become increasingly independent. I have gone through a lot of physical therapy and several surgeries to help me move better. I am not sure it helped much, but I am glad I can do the things I want to do. I took ballet at my daycare and performed in my first recital at age 4. Of course, I cannot remember, but my mom reminded me through pictures. I was a cheerleader for the city’s recreation football league for several years. I took karate for a brief time because it was not for me. I enjoy swimming, church activities, hanging out with friends, and playing wheelchair basketball. I play wheelchair basketball for the Lakeshore Foundation. We were the National Cham­pions for our wheelchair basketball prep league in 2021 and junior league in 2023 (see Figure 1).

I plan to go to college and play wheelchair basketball. In my free time, I enjoy decorating my room and hope to be an interior designer. My friends tell me I am a good listener, and I enjoy helping people, so I have thought about being a counselor. Who knows, I may do both. I hope to travel the world someday and take beautiful pictures of the world. I want to be a voice for the disability community, share my journey, and push for accessibility in the world.

Madison R. Etheridge is a high school sophomore and wheelchair basketball champion.

Editor’s Note: As a holiday gift to our readers, we continue our annual tradition of turning over the November/December editorial pen to a child or young person. This year we are most grateful to have Madison Etheridge, who shares her personal experience meeting the challenges of cerebral palsy.

More News

  • Chapleau becomes first person from the SHP to win the UAB Outstanding Advisor Award for an Advising Administrator

    Read more
  • Lia Puzzo Earns DEP Outstanding Graduate Award

    Read more