For every 1000 children, two or three become diagnosed with cerebral palsy (CP), according to March of Dimes. Furthermore, United Cerebral Palsy estimates 800,000 people in the United States have CP, a neurological condition which restricts physical abilities. Having a family member with cerebral palsy can provide stress, but also blessings. During the hard times comfort can be taken knowing others share similar struggles. Even celebrities, including Chris Cooper, Marianne Leone, Neil Young, and Ashton Kutcher have kin with cerebral palsy.
Chris Cooper/Marianne Leone- Jesse Cooper
Oscar, Golden Globe, and Emmy nominated actor Chris Cooper might be best known for his role as John Laroche in the 2002 movie Adaptation. Marianne Leone portrayed Joanne Moltisanti in the hit show The Sopranos. Together in 1987 the couple welcomed their son Jesse into the world. A premature birth led Jesse to develop cerebral palsy. In an interview with the Malden Observer (read here), Leone explained Jesse was unable to communicate verbally but was still very intelligent.
Tragically, in 2005 young Jesse Cooper passed away from seizure related issues. Despite his short lifespan, Jesse experienced life to the fullest. He ate lunch with Jim Carrey, attended the Academy Awards, and traveled to places like Paris and Italy. Recently Leone has penned a memoir, Knowing Jesse: A Mother’s Memoir to Grief, Grace, and Everyday Bliss, exploring her journey as Jesse’s mother.
Neil Young- Ben & Zeke Young
Neil Young began to make a name for himself in the music industry during the 1960s as a member of the rock group Buffalo Springfield. After leaving Buffalo Springfield Young became a dominant force in the music industry. During the 1970s Young became a father. Oddly enough, Young had two sons, Zeke and Ben, both whom were diagnosed with CP. According to Fatherhood Channel, Zeke has a mild case of cerebral palsy and has worked as a sound engineer for his dad. Ben has a more severe case of cerebral palsy, which forced Young to get creative so he could bond with Ben as Ben grew up.
Additionally, Young has a daughter named Amber Jean who has epilepsy. Inspired by his special needs children, Young help found Bridge School. The institution provides academic opportunities to students with verbal and physical disabilities. Young has also helped organize charity concerts to benefit the disabled. Paul McCartney, Bruce Springsteen, and Pearl Jam have been amongst well known musicians to play these charity concerts.
Ashton Kutcher- Michael Kutcher
Ashton Kutcher has come a long way since playing dumb-witted Michael Kelso on That 70s Show. In fact, this year Time Magazine named Kutcher amongst the top 100 influential people. While Kutcher has become a force in Hollywood, many people might not know Kutcher has a twin brother, Michael Kutcher, who has cerebral palsy. In an interview with The Hill (read here), Michael explained he looks at his brother’s celebrity as an opportunity for himself to become a voice for the cerebral palsy population.
The Hill interviewed Kutcher because Kutcher recently lobbied on behalf of Reaching for the Stars, an organization dedicated to children with CP, for more government funds to be dedicated to cerebral palsy research. Kutcher mentioned to The Hill he hopes the extra funds would help find a cure for cerebral palsy. In everyday life Kutcher works for Transamerica Retirement Services and cares for a family of his own.
4 My Child
Internet Movie Database