To my valued followers,

You have supported me in my endeavors for quite some time, and it is for this reason that I need to write this post. Recently, some of you may have noticed that I have not been as active  with the output of content and response on social media. There is a reason for this and I would like to share with you my current situation.

As you know, In September of 2016 I released my book, “The Boy Who Could Run But Not Walk”. It highlighted my argument of the brain’s amazing ability to change and heal through neuroplasticity, while focusing on brain injuries that took place at or near the time of birth. I wanted to offer a better understanding of how the baby brain grows and recovers, while providing hope in a world of unmet “milestones”. Children with brain injury CAN get better if the appropriate steps are taken to avoid or fix bad habits, and adequate treatment is offered.

What you do not know is that two weeks before the launch of the book, I went in for a routine annual physical and was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. This unexpected news is the reality I now face. The initial prognosis was dismal, but fortunately, the tumors are responsive to treatment and are shrinking. The consensus is that while it is incurable, the oncologists are somewhat confident that it can be kept at bay. I am currently dealing with the effects of chemotherapy and this has obviously affected my ability to stay connected with my network on a regular basis.  I realize that I need to make the most of my time, as it may be limited.

Moving forward, I am going to begin blogging with more direction and action steps included. I want to empower parents to be proactive when dealing with their child’s diagnosis and to offer real hope. With my 40+ years of research and experience, I want to equip parents, therapists, and the medical community with tools and information to enhance the lives and motor function of children affected by brain injury.   I would also like to announce that these blogs and your answers to my questions will be part of a new book. This book will act as a “What to do”  manual offering direction and homework for parents to use when establishing a personalized treatment plan for their children. Based on much of your online feedback, I have identified the need for a guide of this nature.

This is very personal for me, and as you all know, bringing the truth and hope to light has always been my mission. I would like you to join me in creating momentum towards a more positive outlook surrounding the diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy. Together we can create a movement that will ultimately lead to a better understanding of neuroplasticity, appropriate treatments, and hope for those recovering from brain injury.

Thank you for all of your support, and stay tuned for more updates. Your hope is my hope.

Best always,

Karen Pape, MD



  1. Dr. Pape,

    Your blog, your book and all your knowledge are much needed and appreciated. I am moved by your genuine care for brain injured kids and their families. I reached out to you and you responded to my emails and questions. You are an amazing person. One in a billion. I pray that your health will improve and that you will be given the strength to continue your work. More professionals need to get on board. More parents need to see potential in their kids and improve their quality of life.

    I look forward to your new book.

  2. Dr. Pape because of you the world of CP and brain injury has hope and a future. You have many who love and aupport you and we will continue to help you stay strong. You have blessed the medical community in more ways than you realize. My prayers go out to you and I look forward to your continued blogs. <3

  3. oh dear…… I hope you recover soon and have good health……I pray for you…….you gave me hope of better life for my pvl grand son and I pray you get better and enjoy your life and rich researches

  4. I am wishing you all the best, life can be very cruel and usually to the wrong people. Thank you for all you do and continue to do. I hope in your hour of need you get some comfort in the fact that you are thought highly of. And your comment to helping others has done just that! Thank you.

  5. Karen, we wish you all the best. You are very right in your identifying a need for a guide book. Thank you for all the you have done and continue to do for the CP community.

  6. Dr. Pape – I can’t believe I am reading about your cancer as I am simultaneously watching your Winnepeg Ted Talk on another device. I am so saddened to hear your health news. You are the voice for our CP kids, our champion. Thank you for putting together your next book while you are fighting for your days.

    I hope you have many many good days ahead.

    Wishing you all the best.

    Laura Shellswick

  7. Dear wonderful, trailblazing Dr. Pape, you have given hope to so many and it is our fondest desire that your remission, please Gd, give hope to the cancer community as well. Keep the monster at bay and keep your inspirational wisdom coming for those of us who get so much strength & encouragement from you and your freely shared wisdom.

  8. I wish I had found you 20 years ago! I am mother to a 22YO right hemi. She has made a lot of strides towards her future and just graduated college. But, your studies would have been helpful as we navigated through surgeries and treatments.
    I hope you heal and find peace in all that you do! God bless

  9. Thinking of you Karen at this tough time. Your book was great to read and I am sure you have helped many many parents and children through your knowledge and experience gathered over your incredible career. I look forward to reading your blogs and I will keep you in my prayers xxxx

  10. Thank you for continuing your work. It is so valuable to parents of disabled children and people with CP. I sincerely hope and pray that your health stays strong and you enjoy many more years of good health. You deserve it! So grateful you are creating a blog.

  11. Karen I am devastated to hear of your illness…You have inspired me and given me hope for my Son with Hemiplegia aged 9 in England. I’ve told every parent of a child with cp that I know and health professional about your work. Thank you so much for trying to continue to lead the way and help us all to think outside of the box. Sending positive thoughts for you and your family and lots and lots of love. Karen Evans xxx

  12. I appreciate your insight and words of encouragement that with determination and continual practice we can improve throughout our lives. Your willingness to share so much with this community means more than my words can describe.

    I wish you comfort and healing as you continue your treatment with cancer. You have a huge heart and inner strength to do all that you do each and every moment. Prayers are being sent from California!

  13. Karen I am devastated to hear this news. You certainly have given parents so much hope through the reading of your book. I have told all of my therapists about your work and shared your book with them. Thank you so much for all that you have done and continue to do in this area of work. I want to wish you all the very best and trust you are blessed with strength and endurance in the coming months and years ahead. Warmest wishes from Ireland

  14. So heartbroken for you and still even going through this your are helping me and parents alike, what a wonderful person you are.
    I will pray for you and keep you in my thoughts.
    Truly inspiring x

  15. I pray for you. Thanks for the hope I’ve received from your book and I’d love to follow and join to your new blog

  16. Karen, Sending you much love as you fight. I deeply appreciate your expertise and acquired knowledge for children with brain injury. You always take the time for our children and us, the parents. Empowerment is the word that comes to mind when I think about your blog and work. May you be blessed as you travel your own personal journey with cancer, and continue to share your knowledge about your passion, the children. I look forward to continued learning from you and spreading your knowledge to empower others! Warm regards, Jessica Spear

  17. I hope you recover soon and have good health. I am helping my husband in his recovery from lymphoma cancer. He did not respond well to chemo as the cancer cells are still active. I put him on alternative therapies and that helped him to regain strength and mobility. I shared some of the protocols I did with my husband on my website. You can view them at this link.

  18. You have given so much hope to so many of us. I pray the cancer will be stalled, and hopefully eradicated from your body.

  19. Thank you for your strength and courage. I am so honored to be part of the journey of bringing real hope to children and parents
    It is the greatest gift as a therapist to whiteness how empowered children and families become when they realize what is possible – the first step on their journey towards reaching real goals that truly will change lives.
    With gratitude

  20. Dear Dr. Pape- I am heartbroken to hear this. You are truly a light in this world and have given hope and inspiration to so many at the darkest times in their lives. Your words and insights have kept me going and have given me faith that my 19 month old son with CP due to severe HIE has much to look forward to in his healing journey. I wish you much peace, comfort and healing.

  21. So saddened to read your news. I do hope your health continues to improve. Sending prayers and love your way from England.
    My son is 4 with athetoid cp, you’re inspiriational and I follow your advice. I believe my son will be the best he can be, thank you for showing us the potential.
    I look forward to your book xxx
    Louise Bailey , England x

  22. So sad and sorry to hear about your illness, but with our prayers and a positive attitude like yours, the impossible is possible. We have a granddaughter who was diagnosed with a measure of CP and we have taken great courage from your findings and treatment plans. We are look forward to your planned book. Keeping you in our thoughts and prayers. Ronelle Coetzee

  23. Karen, I am sending you all of my love and positive energy. You have been such an inspiration to me both professionally and personally. Your input has helped so many families.

  24. I must say that your post made me emotional but I have such incredible faith and certainty that you were saved to help us on this journey. You have many amazing years ahead of you!!! Your selflessness is such an incredible inspiration! I am filled with gratitude for you and the work you have done. God has big plans for you and your impact will reverberate thru history! I am praying for strength and continued success with your treatments. So many people behind you so I hope you know you are not alone!!! You got this! Prayers and overwhelming gratitude coming your way!!

  25. Dr Pape my heart just sank reading this news. You are one of the people that I admire the most. Your brilliance and wisdom is so inspiring . I read everything you suggest and encourage parents to do the same. May the chemo be kind but effective for you. My heart and prayer are with you. God Bless.

  26. Dear Karen,

    Your life’s work to help children and especially children with CP is wonderful. I especially commend you that you continue this work during your own illness. Your knowledge and encouragement to look beyond what the medical community has been saying about CP recovery has impacted so many children’s lives. Thank you for not giving up!! Praying for your treatment – that it will be successful!

  27. I’m literally crying. I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I have always thanked the Lord for leading me to your TEDTalk. Since then I was hooked. I follow your blog, FB, and bought your book. No other specialist had given me as much guidance, answers, and hope for my son’s future. The work you do is priceless. I have faith you will be well Ms. Pape. I will keep you in my prayers and will ask my family to do the same. Thank you for all you’ve done and for thinking of the CP community despite everything that’s going on. You’re so AMAZING! I look forward to many, many, many more years of your posts. God Bless You. Big hugs.

  28. Thank you for sharing such personal news. We hope that you are able to continue to keep the cancer at bay for years to come.
    As an adoptive mom to a son who had non accidental head trauma at 3 months of age, your blog/website/Ted talk/books have been a Godsend. Wishing you well as your heal and thank you so much for working so tirelessly for our little ones.

  29. Dear Dr. Pape,
    I am so sorry to hear of your health challenges. Your work has been a central factor in the hope I hold for my 2 year old son with spastic quad cp. I am SO grateful for you, you are one of the few advocates in the medical field for progress in our kiddos. If there is ANYTHING I can do for you from Pennsylvania, I will do it! Ever grateful for you and lacking in words to express the magnitude, Lauren ❤️❤️❤️

    • Thank you Lauren, I hope you will join my private FB group when the link goes up this week. I appreciate your support.

  30. I just discovered Dr Pape ted talk. I have a 33 year old son with mild CP.
    I will be ordering Dr.’s book… would like to find therapist with experience in CP.

    I am so sorry to hear about Dr Pape battle with cancer…praying for her.

    I hope this is where I sign up for blog.

    • The sign up for the private Facebook group will be up early next week. Finding a therapist for adults with CP is difficult. I would try a sports PT or and athletic trainer. Your local adaptive sports program may also have some ideas. For an overall assessment, you may consider a short intensive with Pia Stamp,PT in Rochester, NY. Look at the results page and see if it would be a good idea for you son.

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