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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

Varina Ruritans honor students

The Varina Ruritan Club hosted the winners of its 2014 Environmental Essay contest at its monthly meeting March 11 in Varina.

The contest, in its eighth year, was for the first time open to students in grades 3-5 at Varina Elementary School. (It previously was open to Sandston Elementary School students.)

The meeting included the winners, parents of the winners, Varina Elementary principal Mark Tyler and several teachers who were in charge of the contest at the school. > Read more.

Baseball game to benefit Glen Allen Buddy Ball


For the fifth consecutive year, St. Christopher’s and Benedictine will play a varsity baseball game at Glen Allen's RF&P Park as part of a fundraising effort for the River City Buddy Ball program.

The game will take place Saturday, April 12, at 7 p.m., and the teams hope to raise $3,000 through donations, raffles and other efforts. Admission to the game is free, but fans who attend are asked to donate funds for the Glen Allen Youth Athletic Association's Buddy Ball program, which enables disabled children and teens to play baseball. > Read more.

Highland Springs field to be dedicated in honor of longtime coach Spears

The Henrico Division of Recreation and Parks will dedicate the Highland Springs Little League Majors Field in memory and honor of Rev. Robert “Bob” L. Spears, Jr., on April 12 with a ceremony at the field at 8 a.m.

Spears served the league as a coach and volunteer for 30 years and was praised as a pioneer for equality. His “Finish strong” motto embodied ethical perseverance on the field and in life. > Read more.

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Entertainment

A fun, fuzzy ride

‘Muppets Most Wanted’ worthy of its franchise

Do Muppets sleep? It’s hard to say.

They don’t really eat (or breathe, as far as anyone can tell). And only occasionally do they have visible, functioning legs.

As far as anyone knows, sleeping might be off the table. And that makes it very hard to accuse the Muppets of sleepwalking through their latest feature, Muppets Most Wanted – even if that’s exactly what’s going on.

Jim Henson’s beloved creations were back in a big way after 2011’s The Muppets, with fame and fortune and even an Oscar, a first for the group (“Rainbow Connection” was nominated, yet somehow failed to collect at the ’79 ceremony). > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


There’s no excuse for kids and families to not get out of the house this weekend! The Armour House and Gardens has an “Egg-celent Egg-venture” planned and Reynolds Community College will host the Reynolds Family Palooza. If you’re looking to give back to your community, Dorey Park will host Walk Like MADD and coordinators2inc will present the annual Kids Walk for Kids. And a special event for children with special needs will be on Sunday – the Caring Bunny will be at Virginia Center Commons. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

A new meaning for fried chicken

Is it heresy to say – in this bastion-of-tradition capital of the Old South – that it's time for Southern fried chicken to take a step back and make way for a new fried chicken king?

Count me among the new believers bowing to Bonchon Chicken's delectable double-fried bliss. Hand-brushed with signature garlic soy or hot sauce, flash-fried once and then again, the decadent drums and wings take "crisp" to a new level. If you're eating with a crowd and everyone bites in at once, be warned: you might need ear plugs to handle the din. > Read more.

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Eleone Dance Theatre will perform at 7 p.m. April 23 and at 10 a.m. April 24 at The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, 2880 Mountain Rd. The company has… Full text

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