Locals can chip in to help Mason walk

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Shelia Palmer, right, and Randy Harrelson, left, are organizing a fundraiser for Palmer’s grandson, Mason Straughn, who was born with club feet and hands. Also shown is Mason’s mom, Amber Palmer. |Kendra Bolling/Star-News

Mason Lee Straughn, the 6-month-old son of Amber Palmer and Hunter Straughn, was born with arthrogryposis, a rare joint disease that affects the muscles and the joints. He was born with both club feet and club hands.
But don’t let that fool you, said grandmother Sheila Palmer of Wing.
“He is a bright little boy – just full of love and life,” she said. “His mother had a perfect pregnancy, but we noticed something strange on the last ultrasound. The tech kind of blew us off, told us it was all fine.
“It wasn’t,” she said.
Palmer said Straughn’s appendages had the typically “clubbed” look – the heels of his feet touch the back tendons of the foot, while curving down slightly and bowing inward. His wrists were the same, she said.
“At first the doctor said he thought his feet would be fine and that we’d have problems with his hands,” she said. “It’s turned out to be the exact opposite.”
Through surgery and therapy, the boy now has small movement in hands and fingers. His feet, however, pose a much different problem.
“Our goal for us is to see him walk and feed himself and do all the normal things a little boy does,” she said. “It’s going to take some time, we’ll get there.”
However, the road ahead is filled with costly doctor’s appointments and overnight stays. Palmer said since her daughter is still in school, she quit work to take care of her grandson. Thanks to Meredith’s Miracles, the family has been able to make several overnight stays in Birmingham, which is where the infant receives care. Soon, the family plans to travel to a yet-to-be determined Shriner’s Hospital for treatment.
Recently, an offhanded conversation at a local car dealership has worked into a way to help the family raise money to ease the financial burden.
“I went over to Massey to have my oil changed,” she said. “Randy Harrelson and I struck up a conversation and he told me about how his niece had a baby that had the same thing as Mason.
“He told me about how well things worked out for them, and it gave me hope,” she said.
Harrelson has now helped the family organize an fundraiser. Set for 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Sat., May 29, on Black Water Beach, the day will feature a poker run, live entertainment and food.
The poker run will begin at the Pit Stop, which is located next to Old Mexico in Andalusia. Cost is $15 per bike and registration at 9 a.m. with the first bike leaving at 10:30 a.m. Bikes will travel to Red Level, to Gantt and work their way back through to Jackson Honda and then down to Brantley Beach, where the last hand will be drawn.
A silent auction, games and live entertainment are also planned for the day. Boston Butt BBQ dinner plates will be sold for $5.
All proceeds will go toward Straughn’s medical costs and trips.
For more information on the poker run, call Randy Harrelson at 334-504-4117.
Additionally, donations can be made locally at Southern Independent Bank.
“We’re calling our effort ‘Mason’s Mission’ because that is his mission – to walk,” she said.
“It’s just going to take a little help from us all.”