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A Tale of Two Toddlers

February 2, 2011 - Betsy Bethel
On my desk Monday, I found the Easter Seals Advocate newsletter. The entire front page is devoted to a client named Leah. Three color photos show a beautiful, dark-haired, dark-eyed youngster with ruby red lips and a melt-your-heart smile.

According to the article, written by a family member, Leah suffered multiple strokes and had 50 percent of her brain removed when she was a toddler. She wound up with damaged front and temporal lobes and was partially paralyzed on her right side. Her family was told she may never walk or talk again.

Fast forward five years, and Leah is receiving physical, occupational and speech therapy at Easter Seals, and progressing in all three areas. Therapists are teaching her to speak, eat and drink by herself. She now can walk short distances with a leg brace.

I am sharing Leah's story with you because I can't stop thinking about her. I've kept the newsletter open on my desk all week.

Leah's injuries were not accidental. She was beaten. Her head was bashed in by a person outside the family. She was 16 months old.

After hearing about the 2-year-old who died in a Lansing apartment Sunday morning, I feel Leah's story has even more meaning.

Leah's life is not easy, but the surgeons, Easter Seals and the family members who took her in have made sure she not only survived, but that she is living life to her fullest possible potential.

The Bridgeport girl never had a chance.

If you or someone you know is physically, verbally, emotionally or sexually abusing a child, call the police or an anonymous child abuse hotline today.

Don't wait. Do it before that child ends up a client at Easter Seals, brain damaged, mute and using a wheelchair.

Do it before she makes the headlines.

— — —

HOTLINES Someone will answer 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline: 800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453) In West Virginia, the statewide Child Abuse Hotline is 800-352-6513 In Ohio: Belmont County Child Protective Services, 740-695-3813, press 6; or Jefferson County, call 740-264-5515, press 4.


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