Americus family needs help - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Americus family needs help

September 13, 2006

Americus - - An Americus family is trying to get a little help that could make a big difference in their children's health.

Their three children all have down syndrome, and they'll be honored in New York this weekend.  The only problem is the family can't afford to get there.

Courtney Madrono loves going to school.

"She's eager to learn, she loves to read and put together puzzles," says teacher Brenda Foster.

She's a little shy though and doesn't always speak up. That's why she sits on this orange ball in class.

"We call it our talk loud ball. It's from an occupational therapist. It's to help her strengthen her core muscles to help her speak louder."

Like her 2 brothers, she suffers from Down Syndrome - a health condition that causes slowed growth, abnormal facial features, and mental retardation.

"I wouldn't trade it for nothing else in the world," says the children's father Rusty Madrono.

He and his wife follow the National Down Syndrome Society closely to learn the latest research about their children's health condition. The society holds a competition each year.

"Every year families submit pictures of children with down syndrome to be included in a video on a billboard in Time Square and this year their picture was chosen."

For the past several years, they've submitted their children's pictures...with no luck. Last month, that changed.

"My wife almost freaked. I was actually at work when she found out. She called me she was just thrilled to death."

The conference is this weekend and these 3 children will grace a billboard in the Big Apple, but money has been tough to come by and they may not make it.

"To a lot of people its no big deal, to us, its a little bit different."

And making it to the conference could help make a big difference in the lives of three special children.

The children have to travel to Atlanta every month to meet with specialized doctors.

If you would like to help the family get to New York this weekend, you can email Rusty Madrono at cmedrano@mchsi.com or contact him by phone at (229) 942-1968.

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