Dorothy Levy, Co-founder Of United Cerebral Palsy Of Birmingham, Celebrates 106th Birthday

Posted by .

Dorothy Levy co-founded United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Birmingham nearly seven decades ago after her son was diagnosed with the disorder.

Source: Janae Pierre, WBHM

Dorothy Levy is still on a high after her birthday party last month. I met with her recently at the Greenbriar Assisted Living facility in Birmingham. As I walked into her room, family and friends shared laughs over a Facebook video of Levy dancing. In the video, she rolls her wheelchair back & forth, kicking her legs and bouncing her shoulders. Levy is active; just as her oldest son Harry was as a child.

Dorothy Levy lives at Greenbriar Assisted Living Memory Care.
Dorothy Levy lives at Greenbriar Assisted Living Memory Care.
Source: Janae Pierre, WBHM

My Harry” she says, “he grew up to be a perfectly wonderful individual. He had cerebral palsy.”

Harry was born in 1938. Back then, doctors in the South didn’t know anything about cerebral palsy. She says doctors would say kids with the disorder were ruined.

And during that time of raising this baby we didn’t know exactly whether his movements were wrong or not,” she says. 

Levy recalls traveling to New York with Harry in the early 40s. While there, they worked with a physician who trained Harry’s doctor in Birmingham.

Levy’s daughter Janice says whatever Harry needed, her parents were there to make it happen. 

“There was an organization called United Cerebral Palsy of Birmingham, and my mother and father were very active in getting it started,” Janice says.

Dorothy Levy and her children, Janice and Robert, in the dining hall at Greenbrier Assisted Living Facility in Birmingham.
Dorothy Levy and her children, Janice and Robert, in the dining hall at Greenbrier Assisted Living Facility in Birmingham.
Source: Janae Pierre, WBHM

The program is now called United Ability. Almost 70 years later, it continues to connect people with disabilities. Levy visits the center when she can.

“But I don’t do very much in the community now. I’m too old and decrepit,” she says.

Though she feels “decrepit,” Levy has enough energy for yet another birthday celebration.

We should have a birthday party for somebody every month,” she says. 

I joined her and the family in the Greenbriar dining area on a recent Friday night and we ate everything, from chips and guacamole to ribs and collard greens. That’s right, this 106 year old can still chow down on ribs.

“If you wanna eat ribs eat [them], they won’t hurt you. They’ll do you some good,” she says. 

That’s exactly what we did, we ate ribs. And even though it’s a year out, Levy is already making plans for her 107th birthday. 

Janae Pierre

Janae Pierre


Connecting With Seniors One Phone Call At A Time

At the Senior Talk Line in Birmingham, volunteers call seniors just to chat. It’s an effort to fight loneliness and connect with people who may have few others to connect with.

Birmingham’s Senior Population Rises While Affordable Housing Remains Limited

Greater Birmingham’s senior population is rising faster than all other age groups and is expected to double by 2025. But federal money for senior housing has been cut in half during the last decade.

Uncovering Elder Financial Abuse? It’s Tricky.

The elderly can be easy targets for financial abuse. First, they might have money saved from a lifetime of working. Plus they might not be as alert to scams or people taking advantage of them. Banks and other financial institutions can sometimes spot potential problems early. That’s just the beginning of what can be a sticky issue.

Seniors Find Opportunities and Challenges Returning to Work

It’s a good time to be in the market for a job in this state. And that goes for older adults too.