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Stand Up Comedian Speaks of Life with Cerebral Palsy

It is inspiring to hear cerebral palsy patients speak of how they overcame their disability and led exciting and productive lives. One such case is stand-up comedian Geri Jewell, best known for her role as “Cousin Geri” on “The Facts of Life,” a 1980’s sitcom.

Jewell entertained a crowd of 120 people in June, who had congregated to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the federal American with Disabilities Act, along with the Anthracite Region Center for Independent Living, a non-profit organization that serves people with disabilities in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Born with cerebral palsy, Jewell, now 55-years-old, told stories of her time in Hollywood, which include appearing in shows such as “Two of a Kind,” “Sesame Street,” “21 Jump Street,” and “Deadwood,” an HBO series.

Funny and engaging, Jewell spoke of how her time as a sitcom star led to many opportunities, including an invitation to partner with John McEnroe during a charity tennis match.

Jewell remembers telling McEnroe, “I’ll just sit over here and have cerebral palsy.” They compromised and McEnroe was the one to serve the ball, after Jewell conceded she wasn’t overly athletic. In the end, they won the match against Arthur Ashe and sex therapist Dr. Ruth.

Leaving the crowd with a message of determination and hope, Jewell said, “Never give up on yourself no matter how lard life is. Live life to the fullest and never underestimate the power of the human spirit.”

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