Saturday, August 14, 1999

Cruise-in helps boy who can't walk or talk


Vintage car show invites all models

BY TOM O'NEILL
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        UNION TOWNSHIP — Encephalitis robbed 7-year-old Shane Pitman of two important things: his ability to talk and walk.

        But it couldn't take the two most important things to him: his friends and family.

        They will gather again todayin the parking lot of Shells seafood restaurant, 491 Ohio Pike in Cherry Grove for the second annual Charity Cruise-In. Proceeds will be used to pay the mountainous medical bills the Edenton boy's family incurs.

        The exhibit runs from 1 to 5 p.m. and is sponsored by the vintage-car enthusiasts club Hoodlum Alley Boys, of which Shane's father, Steve, is a member. All vehicles are welcome. A $5 donation is recommended.

        “It's hard to put into words,” Shane's mother, Laurie, said Thursday. “The way everyone has come together. It's just unbelievable.”

        Shane was 2 weeks old when he contracted a virus called herpes encephalitis. Mrs. Pitman rushed him to the hospital, but Shane began having seizures on the way and was in a coma for two weeks.

        Doctors said he had about a 20 percent chance to survive. He did. But the encephalitis caused permanent damage to the right side of his brain.

        Laurie has home-schooled him, but Shane is preparing to enter school for the first time in the fall, at Putnam Elementary in the Blanchester school system. The family hopes to use proceeds from Saturday's fund-raiser to buy a van with a wheelchair lift.

        “He needs to be around other children now,” Mrs. Pitman said. “I don't want to hold him back.”

        Shane has difficulty moving, and his family hopes upcoming hip replacement surgery surgery will straighten out his legs enough so that he can learn to crawl — and, eventually, walk.

        To donate, write to Shane Pitman Contribution Fund, c/o Firstar Bank, 828 McClelland Drive, Milford OH 45150.

       



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