The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

April 3, 2013

VIDEO: With help of Galena residents, Joplin boy gets wish on Route 66

GALENA, Kan. — The Make-A-Wish Foundation grants a wish somewhere in the country every 38 minutes. At 3 p.m. Wednesday, Andy Shepherd’s came true in Galena.

The 14-year-old sixth-grader from Joplin, Mo., has had induced cerebral palsy since he was shaken as a baby.

“He has severe learning delays and in December was declared legally blind,” said his grandmother, Linda Shepherd, a retired Joplin teacher. Andy and his father, Larry, live with her, and she has helped provide for his care since he was a toddler.

“He is very happy and outgoing and loves everybody,” she said. “He’s mostly a normal little boy.”

Normal except that doctors told the family that Andy likely would never progress beyond the cognitive abilities of a 3-year-old, and he likely would have no mobility and would need a wheelchair.

“But his evaluation in December showed he’s reached an 8-year-old’s development,” his grandmother said proudly. “And he’s able to walk on his own using forearm crutches now. He has far exceeded everything they said.”

It hasn’t been easy. Andy has had two major surgeries — hip reconstruction and a selective dorsal rhizotomy on his vertebrae — and intensive pediatric therapy.

“My hope with this was to just make him happy,” his grandmother said. “He just wants to be a regular little boy.”

She turned to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for help. A team of about 25,000 volunteers helps Make-A-Wish grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to give them hope, strength and joy.

“It’s not a last wish — it’s a wish to encourage them to keep them going,” said Southwest Missouri volunteer Marla Gourley, of Galena. “Especially if they have something not life-threatening. For example, cancers are life-threatening, but there is hope.”

Gourley, 40, was diagnosed with uterine cancer when she was in her early 30s and recently began using crutches after a torn hip ligament. She said she understands what a person goes through when faced with physical and emotional challenges.

“It was a thing that drew my attention really quick,” Gourley said. “It’s a touching area to my heart all the way around.”

Andy, a fan of Pixar’s “Cars” movie, expressed a wish that especially touched a nerve with Gourley: He wanted to see one of his favorite characters, Tow Mater, in real life, drive along Route 66 and visit Cars Land at Disneyland in California.

“I live here and take for granted that street,” Gourley said of Route 66 in Galena. “But here he is, and all he wants to do is be on Route 66 and go to California. That’s getting emotional.”

Text Only
Local News
  • 072814_jd anderson.jpg VIDEO: Noel strongman advances on talent show

    The past week has been busier than normal for Noel resident J.D. Anderson. Members of the production crew for NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” told him they have shot more footage of him than of other contestants for the next episode. “They said I have the busiest schedule of anyone this week,” Anderson told the Globe in a phone interview Friday. “There’s so many fun things you can do with B-roll as a strongman.”

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • AndraBryanStefanoni.jpg Andra Bryan Stefanoni: ‘Annie’ production is a family thing

    There’s a twist to this week’s production of “Annie” at Memorial Auditorium. The show, a beloved classic tale of an orphan girl in search of a family, is full of real-life family members.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072514 Band Box.jpg Jo Ellis: Carthage icon continues to play in local restaurant

    Chicago Coin’s Band-Box, also known as “Strike Up the Band,” has been a Carthage icon since the mid- to late 1950s. Any customer who frequented Red’s Diner, or Ray’s Cafe, and now the Pancake Hut is familiar with the pulsating rhythms and movements of this mechanical device.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • SusanRedden.jpg Susan Redden: Gubernatorial hopefuls make area appearances

    Three potential candidates for Missouri governor in 2016 made stops in the Joplin area this past week.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Anti-landfill group seeks grand jury probe

    As more than 200 people filed into Riverton High School on Sunday to attend an anti-landfill group meeting, many stopped to sign a petition asking the Cherokee County District Court to summon a grand jury to investigate how land was acquired by the city of Galena for a proposed landfill.

    July 27, 2014

  • shoalcreekcleanup.jpg Wildcat Glades center puts on service day at Shoal Creek

    About 20 people on Saturday pulled trash out of Shoal Creek as they paddled in canoes and kayaks from Grand Falls to Zan’s Creekside Campground in Joplin.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hearts & Hammers plans annual home repair event

    Since 2003, volunteers with Hearts & Hammers of Southwest Missouri have made free improvements to more than 170 homes owned by the elderly, physically disabled, and single parent or low-income families.

    July 26, 2014

  • Money clouds farm fight

    For much of the summer, while the campaign surrounding “right to farm” has been focused on its impact on “small, family farmers,” the bulk of the money pouring into the fight has come from big agriculture interests.

    July 26, 2014

  • jameswelbornupdate.jpg Local teen completes half of solo river trip

    James Welborn, a recent Webb City High School graduate, has reached the halfway point of his solo canoe trip down the Mississippi River — just in time to celebrate his 19th birthday with family.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Neosho police warn residents of phone scam

    The Neosho Police Department has received complaints from residents saying someone impersonating a lieutenant from the Newton County Sheriff’s Office warrants division has been calling them.

    July 26, 2014

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

A new provision by the U.S. Department of Agriculture allows qualifying districts with high percentages of students on food assistance to allow all students to eat free breakfasts and lunches. Would you agree with this provision?

Yes
No
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter