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Isaac turns 2

Local child battling, overcoming rare syndrome
What a difference a year makes.

As Isaac Corbett celebrated his second birthday Oct. 4, his parents marveled at how far he has come since he was diagnosed with Hurler Syndrome last fall.

"One year ago, after receiving the diagnosis, we had very little hope for our child," said Isaac's father, Gabe. "One year ago, he was going backwards, and probably faster than we thought."

A rare genetic disorder, Hurler Syndrome generally takes the lives of its victims at only five to six years of age without treatment. But Isaac was diagnosed at a young enough age for doctors at Duke University Medical Center to perform a bone marrow transplant.

After living seven months in Durham, N.C., while Isaac underwent chemotherapy, multiple surgeries, and the transplant, the Corbett family has returned to the Richmond area. "We still head down to Duke about once a month for an infusion," said Isaac's mother, Natalie, "and visit the clinic at MCV every two weeks for a blood draw and exam. . . We no longer have to give him daily infusions, only oral suspension medications."

"We have one resilient child," remarked Gabe.

Not only is Isaac progressing well with his weekly physical and speech therapy, but he is crawling, pulling up to a stand, and learning to climb stairs.

"We also enjoy witnessing his problem-solving skills in action and relish the fact that his mind is functioning well," said Natalie. "When asked what sound a cow, sheep, horse, and dog make, Isaac can respond appropriately.

"However, I am still waiting anxiously to hear him say 'Mama,' rather than continue to be associated with a cow – as Isaac says 'moo' instead."

Although Isaac's parents must take special care to guard against head injuries as Isaac learns to walk, their freedoms are expanding. They can invite a few healthy people into the home at a time, and even bring Isaac inside some other homes.

"We can now go to outdoor restaurants, be in the sunlight 10 minutes a day, and have him try people food again," said Gabe. "What most parents experience in one year of development, we’ve stretched over two and counting."

The Corbetts said they could not have come this far without the support of many friends and family members, including Gabe's mother, who helps with Isaac several days a week, and Natalie's mother, who lives in the Midwest but visited for several months. Other relatives and friends have helped look after Isaac, supplied food, assisted with household tasks, and volunteered in the community to raise funds for Isaac’s care.

For his recent birthday party, about a dozen family members filled the house to watch Isaac eat some cake.

"We had a blast," said Gabe of the occasion. "But he's very picky, [and we] ended up having to put his prized yogurt melts in and on top of the cake for him to even try it."

Following the birthday party, the family packed the car and headed to Duke so Isaac could get his scheduled infusion the next morning. "I guess it's just our life right now," said Gabe.

"There is a lot to keep track of with this busy little guy," Natalie said, noting that Isaac still faces surgeries to correct skeletal abnormalities in addition to the constant monitoring and medications.

"But he amazes us daily with his progress and determination."

To view a video of photos of Isaac's first two years, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33FKORU0Wa8 To re.ad the original story about Isaac ("New Life for Joy Boy," in the March 15 issue of the Citizen), visit http://www.henricocitizen.com/index.php/news/article/05477
Community

Glen Allen student to perform at Carnegie Hall

Thanks to a first-place win in The American Protege International Vocal Competition 2014, Glen Allen High School student Matija Tomas will travel to New York City to perform at Carnegie Hall in December.

At the first-place winners recital in Weill Hall, Matija will perform Giacomo Puccini’s opera aria, “Chi il bel sogna di doretta.” She will perform with other vocalists from around the world and have the opportunity to win other awards and scholarships.

Locally, Thomas has performed with Richmond’s renowned Glorious Christmas Nights, Christian Youth Theatre, and WEAG’s Urban Gospel Youth Choir. > Read more.

Gayton Baptist Church dedicates new outreach center


The John Rolfe YMCA and Gayton Baptist Church have partnered in an effort to bring greater health and wellness opportunities to the community.

Through this partnership, the John Rolfe Y will run Youth Winter Sports programs, including basketball and indoor soccer, in Gayton’s newly renovated $5.5 million outreach center that features a new gymnasium, youth and teen space, social space with café, meeting space and full service commercial kitchen. > Read more.

Henricus Historical Park to host Publick Day Sept. 20

Henricus Historical Park will commemorate its anniversary during Publick Day, a signature annual event that celebrates the establishment of the second successful English settlement in the New World. In September 1611, Sir Thomas Dale, along with soldiers, tradesmen and farmers, ventured from Jamestown to create the Citie of Henricus. Leaders of Henricus developed the first English hospital, chartered the first college in North America, established tobacco as the first cash crop in Virginia, and created a place where Pocahontas lived and met John Rolfe.

Publick Day will take place Saturday, Sept. 20, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free and parking is $5 per vehicle. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Extras sought for AMC’s ‘TURN’

Paid extras are being sought to appear in the AMC television series TURN: Washington's Spies, which will begin filming its second season in the Richmond area at the end of September and continue through February.

No experience is required, but producers say that extras must have flexible availability, reliable transportation and a positive attitude.

Arvold Casting is holding an open call on Sunday, Sept. 21 and is seeking men, women and children who are Caucasian, African American and Native American, with thin to average builds and who can realistically portray people living in Revolutionary War times. Long hair is a plus but not a must. > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


TGIF! Celebrate the weekend at Oak Hall Baptist Church’s Community Block Party on Saturday. Learn more about ballroom dancing, art and Colonial times. Or take the kids to Generation Z Games for water play or Southern Season to cook up a Disney-theme meal. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


Check out these three B’s in Henrico this weekend: books, bluegrass and “Born Yesterday.” Other activities to participate in – and feel good about – are the 15th annual James River Regional Cleanup and the 5th annual Richmond Out of the Darkness Community Walk. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

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