When Brianna Norton found out that her two-and-a-half year-old son had been named poster child for the 46th annual Ernie Blankenship Radio-Telethon for the benefit of the Highland County Society for Children and Adults, she said she could not have been more happy.
“I think it’s great. When I found out I jumped up and started crying and laughing at the same time. I was very excited,” the Hillsboro area resident said. “They’ve really, really helped me a tremendous amount. Gayle (Coss, director of the society) knows we have been going through some tough times and has really been a big help. They are a blessing sent from God and it’s amazing that we have the society to turn to when we need help.”
The 2018 radio-telethon will be hosted by the Hillsboro and Greenfield Rotary Clubs on Wednesday, March 28.
The event will be broadcast live from 6-9 p.m. from the NCB main office in Hillsboro on the local community access channel of the Time Warner Cable System, and on WSRW 101.5, WSRW AM 1590 and iHeart radio.
In Greenfield, the event will be broadcast from 6-9 p.m. from the McClain High School Media Room on the local community access channel of Time Warner Cable System along with periodic broadcasts on radio station WVNU FM 97.5.
The poster child is Patrick “P.J.” Norton. Whether he will be able to make it to the telethon is still up in the air. He, and his mother, have been at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital since Jan. 10, and Brianna is not sure when her son will be released.
Brianna has another 1.5-year-old child that is staying with Brianna’s mother while she’s at the hospital.
Patrick has Cri-du-chat syndrome, also know as cat’s cry, a chromosomal condition that results when a piece of chromosome 5 is missing. The disorder is characterized by intellectual disability and delayed development, small head size, low birth weight, and weak muscle tone in infancy.
Brianna said Patrick was diagnosed with the disease from birth and that it has left him with physical and mental disabilities.
She said the Society for Children and Adults provided Patrick with a seat that allows him to be more stable on his own and more active with other kids. She said the Society has also provided gas cards for trips back and forth to Children’s Hospital and helped pay for other equipment Patrick needed.
Despite his medical issues, Brianna said Patrick his a happy kid. She said he likes noisy toys and balls, really gets into cartoons and loves Disney movies.
“He likes being around people and being active,” Brianna said. “When he’s trying to love on you, he grabs you by the ears and pulls you toward him. He’s a very loving boy and always smiles and laughs.”
Patrick will never get rid of his disease, his mother said. She said that when Patrick was born doctors told her they only expected him to live for a year, but he has more than doubled that.
“We call him our little Ninja boy warrior,” Brianna said. “From day one we’ve said he was like that because they’re super strong and can recover from anything, just like Patrick.”
The hosts of this year’s Society for Children and Adults broadcast in Hillsboro will be Rick Williams and Herb Day. The first hour of the broadcast in Hillsboro will feature students from the county schools and youth organizations who have raised funds for the event.
The Hillsboro portion of the radio-telethon will be live streamed at www.tech-t.com/telethon.
From 6-8 p.m., Rotarians will take pledges by telephone or in person for those who come to the bank during the broadcast. Pledges can be made during the telethon by calling 937-393-4246. Any donation, no matter the amount, will be appreciated, said organizers. Checks can be dropped off at any local bank or mailed to the Society at P.O. Box 258, Hillsboro, Ohio 45133.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or [email protected]