The Times West Virginian

Ticket

August 16, 2012

‘He has been a true fighter’

Sunday’s event more than fundraiser for 6-year-old facing major medical challenges

FAIRMONT — Bubbly and cheerful, 6-year-old Craig Gilpatrick comes across as a normal young boy.

Superheroes and cars are his favorites, and he enjoys attending church services with his family.

But those who know anything about Gilpatrick beyond that know there is far more to this story.

In his first six years of life, Gilpatrick has undergone 19 operations. Diagnosed with Arnold-Chiari malformation, a brain malformation, he often suffers from severe migraines and has trouble with his hearing and sight, and now uncontrolled epilepsy.

It has been especially trying for his mother Tara. She was the first of many members in her family to be diagnosed with the condition.

“It affects you pretty bad,” she said. “You never know if you’re going to have a migraine. You have a lot of choking spells. Even your saliva you will choke on, and that’s scary. Even though I have it, it plays a bigger toll on me for my son to have it than me to have it, which I think any mother would feel.”

Years of procedures and numerous medical bills have exhausted the family not only mentally, but financially. And for the first time over the span of the young boy’s ordeal, they are reaching out to the community.

On Sunday, a day after Gilpatrick’s seventh birthday, the family will have a benefit dinner and country music show at the Mountain View Jamboree Building. Seven miles from Greenbag Road on Kingwood Pike in Morgantown, the venue will be the site of a spaghetti dinner starting at noon for $5. Hot dogs will be provided for the kids as well, along with numerous desserts and beverages for the crowd.

Admission for the music show, which will begin at 1 p.m., will be $5. Performers include Mountain View Outlaw Band, Rockin’ Al Anderson, John Daugherty, Robbie Comas, Tom Goldsmith and Ed Queen.

Immense support from her fiance Randy Beall and her mother Sally Andrews has been a blessing for Tara, who wants the best for her son. Hoping for a large turnout and huge support system, she is also on a mission to accomplish another goal.

“It’s not only about the medical bills, but also the awareness,” she said. “There are just too many times you go to the hospitals and doctors don’t know what Arnold-Chiari malformation is. They need to get it out there and make them aware.”

When the family learned Gilpatrick had the condition, they had no choice. Immediate emergency surgery was performed because the malformation was so severe.

The disease, which has taken a toll on her son, is one of many medical ordeals he is facing. While in New Mexico, Gilpatrick was flown to a hospital due to the severe seizures he was having. As a result of the seizures, he suffered mini-strokes and could not walk. Doctors predicted he would spend at least three months and possibly a lifetime in a wheelchair.

“Me and my mother both fought it,” Tara said. “They had him out of the wheelchair. He is now walking, running, but there have been times that he does need his wheelchair because his legs hurt so bad that he can’t walk on them.”

To add to the stressful ordeal, Gilpatrick is now without a wheelchair due to a fire.

“When he is having a bad day, we are now at the point where he is to be carried around,” Tara said.

She and her family have done everything they can to make Gilpatrick’s life as normal as possible in spite of the endless doctors’ visits and procedures that have been performed. The family is especially grateful for his neurologist, Dr. Felix Brizuella, who has been instrumental in helping Gilpatrick achieve more normalcy in his everyday life.

“(Dr. Brizuella) has been achieving much success in getting Craig to the point where he can live a more normal life than what most doctors have felt he could ever live,” Tara said. “Craig is looking to be getting another operation around the first part of 2013.”

More medical procedures are planned in the future, and a battle to attain as normal of a life as possible will be exhausting.

But when Tara looks at her son, she is proud of the strength he exudes and the cheerfulness he portrays.

“He has been a true fighter with all his medical problems,” she said.

Donations for the silent auction and more would be greatly appreciated by the family. To purchase $10 cash bash tickets or for more information, call Tara Gilpatrick at 304-841-3612.

Email Nicole Lemal at nlemal@timeswv.com.

1
Text Only
Ticket
  • Morgantown revving up for MountainFest

    Around 60,000 guests will flood into the Morgantown area July 23-27 for the 10th anniversary of MountainFest.
    The motorcycle-themed event will offer live music from two stages, two stunt team demonstrations, a vintage car show, custom bike builders, and around 80 vendors that offer motorcycle memorabilia, clothing, crafts and 14 different food options.

    July 24, 2014

  • Keaton clicks with Douglas, ‘And So It Goes’

    Two old pros show the kids how chemistry works in a romantic comedy in “And So It Goes,” a love-the-last-time-around romp that’ll give its target audience the warm fuzzies.
    Diane Keaton dons one stylishly kicky outfit after another — hats included — trills “La di dah,” or words to that effect, and all is well in this high-rent corner of Connecticut, where the perfectly-coiffed Michael Douglas plays her permanently grumpy Realtor neighbor.

    July 24, 2014

  • Some ‘Abbey’ details to tide you over

    American viewers are still a ways off from having the upstairs-downstairs bunch of “Downton Abbey” over as guests in their homes through the telly, but we have some crumpets of information to hold you over before then.
    Executive producer Gareth Neame and cast members Michelle Dockery, Laura Carmichael, Allen Leech and Joanne Froggatt appeared before reporters as part of PBS’ session at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Beverly Hills.

    July 24, 2014

  • Kids Day Facepainting.jpg Kids Day is Saturday in Morgantown

    On Saturday, a portion of High Street in Morgantown will be closed to traffic to make room for all the kids.
    This year’s Kids Day will feature more than 100 activities, including an interactive butterfly exhibit, bounce houses, sand art stations, a model railroad display and much more.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • ‘The Strain’ offers more gore than story

    At the same time “The Strain” was in development, a commercial in heavy rotation showed three catty middle-schoolers stalking a chubby guy on a diet. Whenever he contemplated a calorie-drenched monstrosity, they’d pipe in with a rapid-fire “Ew!” “Seriously?” “So gross ...”

    July 17, 2014

  • Brooks’ Dublin concerts off; refunds begin

    It’s crying time on the Emerald Isle: Country music superstar Garth Brooks issued a statement Monday confirming that his five planned concerts in Dublin next week are scrapped, and that ticket refunds for 400,000 ticket buyers will proceed.

    July 17, 2014

  • Helping the United Way ... the musical way

    Heston Farm Winery and the United Way of Marion County have teamed up for the third year for the Heston Arts and Music Festival.
    While the HAM Festival has little to do with meat — although there will be a few ham-themed food options, including “hog wings” — it has a lot to do with the community.

    July 10, 2014

  • Go ‘Red, White & Boom!’ July 4

    Palatine Park will be full of people and patriotism Friday during Fairmont’s “Red, White & Boom!” celebration.
    Gates open at 3:30 p.m. and festivities start at 4:15 p.m. with Mama Corn, a bluegrass band from Pennsylvania.
    The Marshall Lowry Band, a country and bluegrass trio with members from Fairmont, will take the stage at 5:30 p.m., and country rock singer Katie Ohh will follow at 7 p.m.

    July 3, 2014

  • The Father of Rock ’n’ Roll

    Next weekend, musicians will come to Fairmont to pay tribute to a man considered the father of rock ’n’ roll piano.
    The 13th annual Johnnie Johnson Blues & Jazz Festival will be held July 5-6 at Palatine Park.
    A Fairmont native, Johnson taught himself to play piano, and his talent led him into a partnership with musician Chuck Berry — Johnson wrote the music for more than 60 Chuck Berry songs but did not receive writing credits.

    June 26, 2014

  • Petting zoo offers ‘total freedom’

    Wallabies, silky chickens and miniature ducks — oh my!
    The Great American Petting Zoo will travel to the Clarksburg Shop ’n Save on June 25 and then to the Mannington Shop ’n Save on June 26 to warm the hearts of families in Marion and Harrison counties.

    June 19, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Lifestyles
House Ads