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Thankful and Grateful for ‘Easter Seal’ Girl

Kanawha ‘Easter Seal’ Girl: “Valery Ann Bayless, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Bayless of Poca, is Kanawha County ‘Easter Seal Girl’ for 1956. Valery is shown with Lyell B. Clay, city solicitor who is representing Mayor Copenhaver as he purchases the first 1956 Easter Seals. The Cerebral Palsy Clinic located at 509 Lee St. in the Fruth School building is the chief services project of the Kanawha County Society for Crippled Children and Adults, Inc. Here, 75 children like Valery receive treatments in physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.”

By Geraldine Bayless
Eleanor, West Virginia

I thought this article would be appropriate since Easter will be the last of this month. It’s a picture of a remarkable 3-year-old, who wasn’t supposed to live overnight after being born May 7, 1953 at Charleston, McMillon Hospital.

We, her father and mother, prayed she would live (our first born); later she was diagnosed with severe brain damage and cerebral palsy at about 13 months old. We cared for her for 44 years at home and made her little world as happy as possible.

We did everything we thought would help her walk and speak, with therapy for nine years, but it never happened. She can say one word and its mommy, the most precious of all words.

Her father, Robert passed away in 1996, so I’ve been visiting her about every day in the nursing facility since, for about three hours each time, feed her dinner and talk and play and listen to music with her, she always listened to music at home and played with her blocks with Mommy by her side.

Valerie has a sister Elizabeth Jean who got her degree in nursing after graduating from high school. She’s in Florida now and a brother Robert “Chip”, who served in the Army after graduating high school and then became a long haul truck driver. He’s semi-retired now, and lives here in West Virginia. They were good kids and made it lighter duties on Mom with their sister Valerie to care for. They pitched in and did things for her, so I had a good family, even a good outside dog Rowdy, who would sit with her and guard her when we would take her outside.

I’m so grateful that the Lord has let me keep going at 89 years old (birthday April 18th), to make trips to see Valerie.

Remarkable precious first born child of Geraldine and the late Robert Bayliss of Eleanor, will be 71 years old May 7, 2024.

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