Cerebral Palsy Doesn’t Stop University Student and Pathfinder Leader

Despites her limitations, Cyntia Araújo never gave up on her dream of studying law.

Simone Silva, South American Division, and Adventist Review
Cerebral Palsy Doesn’t Stop University Student and Pathfinder Leader
Cyntia Araújo is a leader and board member of a Pathfinder club and has shared her testimony of faith at the university she attends. [Photo: courtesy of Cyntia Araújo]

Difficulty walking and talking are consequences of the complications suffered by Cyntia Araújo at the time of her birth. In the maternity ward, her mother, Rose Mary, did not receive specialized care in time. Her daughter had cardiorespiratory arrest, causing athetoid cerebral palsy, which has resulted in lifelong sequelae.

Today, at the age of 21, Cyntia, who lives in São Luís, Maranhão, Brazil, is a member of the board of directors of a Pathfinder club and is a university student. She is an example of how limitations don’t have to stop a person from achieving personal accomplishments and being an inspiration to others.

Cyntia’s mother recalls the difficulties she had with her daughter when she was little. Reduced mobility has sometimes been a reason for prejudice and disrespect in public transport and other everyday situations. However, none of this discouraged her.

She was never an ordinary girl, due to her physical and mental health conditions. Especially during family worship, Rose Mary says, Cyntia, still small and without much motor coordination, was already trying to handle the Bible and looked at all those letters and illustrations with curiosity.

“I’ve always trusted God. I saw that my daughter was smart, and even though she had difficulties, she memorized the commandments and many psalms in the Bible,” Rose Mary says.

This curiosity and willingness to learn gave Cyntia an edge. At six she was enrolled in the Adventurer Club and later became a member of a Pathfinder club. Always active, she doesn’t miss any of the club’s activities. Whether outdoors, in camps or camporees, she always has the support of her parents and older sister, Camila.

With a cheerful and playful personality, Cyntia makes friends wherever she goes and is admired for her willpower and determination. “Jesus is everything to me, because without Him we can do nothing. The Word of God says that we can do anything through the One who strengthens us, and it is Jesus who strengthens us,” she said.

A Witness at Her University

Dedicated and committed to her studies, upon completing high school, Cyntia took the National High School Exam and, in 2021, registered in the law degree program at the Federal University of Maranhão. “I was very happy and grateful to pass the entrance exam on my first try,” she said. “I feel it was an accomplishment.”

To her classmates, Cyntia exceeds expectations. “She doesn’t miss classes and pays attention,” classmate Eduarda Berthier said. “We took Criminal Procedure together, and the professor praised her very much. She is an example of dedication for all of us.”

When talking about her plans, Cyntia said that her biggest goals in life include the professional and evangelistic aspects. “When I graduate, I want to work, to be a good professional. I also want to be a good Christian and prepare myself for the return of Jesus, to be in eternity with Jesus, with my family and with the people I love,” she said.

The original version of this story was posted on the South American Division Portuguese-language news site.

Simone Silva, South American Division, and Adventist Review