Pirouettes, patience and perseverance: The Shannon Saunders Eaton story

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

Her favorite books are The Cat in the Hat and American Girl books. She makes her bed to earn her allowance. She listens to her favorite singer, Elton John, on her MP3 player. The only difference between Shannon Saunders Eaton and any other 10-year-old is that Shannon is the 2009 National Child Representative for Easter Seals. And, oh yeah, she was born with cerebral palsy.

What is cerebral palsy? According to the National Institutes of Health, cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of disorders that affect a person's ability to move, and to maintain balance and posture. CP happens when the areas of the brain that control movement and posture do not develop correctly or get damaged. The disorders appear in the first few years of life and usually do not get worse over time. People with CP may have difficulty walking and trouble with tasks such as writing or using scissors.

What's next?

Shannon recently underwent orthopedic surgery to assist with leg mobility. There is no doubt she will be up and about soon, practicing pirouettes and proving the doctor wrong once again. All in a day's work for a 10-year-old girl whose motto is, "Just try it. When you fall, get back up."

Marguerite Marsh is a freelance writer in Columbus. She writes about many topics, including families, relationships, artists and pets.

Camp Challenge:

Easter Seals Central and Southeast Ohio Summer Camps

Summer Residential Camp

  • June 19 - 21
  • 20 campers with developmental and physical disabilities, 40 volunteers
  • Camp Hervida, Marietta

Summer Day Camp

  • June 15 - August 21
  • Open to all campers with developmental and physical disabilities, or typically developing children, ages 18 months to 10 years old
  • The campus of Nationwide Children's Hospital
  • National Easter Seals Web site: www.easterseals.com.

About the partnership

  • Who: Columbus Parent Magazine and Kroger
  • What: Partnering with Easter Seals and other children's charities to help central Ohio families in need
  • When: Begins April 2009
  • Where: Central Ohio Kroger stores; magazines will be located just outside the check-out lanes
  • How: Donate $1 and help change the world; receive up to $3 in money-saving coupons in return
  • Why: Columbus Parent Magazine will remain in all its other non-grocery locations free of charge. But by partnering with Kroger to raise funds, we have the potential to raise tens of thousands of dollars for local families in need.