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February 19, 2020
Why I’m climbing Mount Kosciuszko
By: Jess Pascoe

During her 9-week project with the Cerebral Palsy Alliance, Jess was inspired to climb to the top of Australia to support an organisation that has made a lasting impression on her personally and professionally.

Recently I was lucky enough to complete a project with the Cerebral Palsy Alliance (CPA). The organisation engaged Accenture to develop a technology strategy and roadmap to help them modernise and meet the growing needs of its clients.

Before we started the engagement, I was able to learn a lot from my colleague Rosie, who has an older brother who has been supported by the CPA. It’s great to be able to work on impactful projects and to uniquely understand the impact it will have on people like Rosie and her family. It’s truly special to be able to do work that matters.

I was quickly able to see the incredible work that the CPA do, from using its world-leading research to reduce the incidence of CP, to finding the best early intervention strategies that allow people like Rosie’s brother to reach their full potential. The Alliance is also a lifeline for families, giving them access to services and information – and a community of people to go to for support and advice.

Every 15 hours, an Australian child is born with CP. It’s the most common childhood physical disability! There’s a massive spectrum. It can range from weakness in one hand, to an almost complete lack of voluntary movement. There’s no cure and, in most cases, the cause remains unknown.

With Patrick, my friend with cerebral palsy who will climb Mt Kosciuszko with us!

With Patrick, my friend with cerebral palsy who will climb Mt Kosciuszko with us!

Throughout the course of the project, I met a variety of people with all types of abilities. The CPA’s corporate headquarters is also a therapy and training centre, and many staff members are living with CP.

Our engagement was very hands on and we were able to work with staff and volunteers to see how the organisation operates. I met a communications specialist with limited mobility who uses pointers on her head to type out information – from blogs to social media posts. At Accenture, we’re lucky to be at the forefront of innovation and technology and see how it can be used to transform a business.

By the time we’d completed all our deliverables for the client and were wrapping up the project, I had made a new friend that I was going to miss. Seeing the communications specialist supported in a meaningful career and how inclusion and diversity can add so much value to an organisation is something I am passionate about bringing more of to my client engagements and at Accenture.

I’m also excited about CPA’s transformation journey; they have some really exciting initiatives planned to better support people living with CP and their families. For example, there are so many opportunities to use data to help parents get a handle on what they’re dealing with. Right now, when families ask: “What will this mean for my child?” the answer just isn’t that simple. In future, data will enable CPA to offer more predictive advice, so it’s easier for parents to plan for their kids’ future.

On a recent holiday in Mollymook

On a recent holiday in Mollymook

The CPA was such a great client to work with: genuinely lovely people so committed to serving their clients. The project was a truly collaborative, co-designed experience. There was so much buy-in and positivity – it was inspiring to work with such a visionary organisation. We were completely embraced by the CPA family.

Since the project, I’ve found I have more awareness of the everyday things we take for granted. For some people, navigating bumps in the pavement or the task of getting on and off the train are major hurdles – and that’s before they get to work! Working on this project has been such a great experience and I am so proud to play a small role in making a difference.

This year, my hubby William Pascoe, Louise May, Brian Lee-Archer, Bella Massey and I will be taking part in the Krazy Kosci Klimb, an 18.4 km hike up Mount Kosciuszko as part of Team Patrick – once in a lifetime opportunity for people living with Cerebral Palsy to reach the top of Australia!

Unfortunately, due to the horrendous bushfires in Australia, the climb has been postponed, but we still need your support! If you’d like to donate to this amazing cause, please check out our fundraising page.

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