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 Local News  -   Saturday, September 6, 2003

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Easter Seals Child Representative visits the area to promote upcoming events

Bulletin Staff Writer;

Bulletin Photo by Kevin Pieper

Riley McClanahan, 4, of Little Rock, the 2003 Child Representative for Arkansas Easter Seals, makes his pinwheel spin as he visits the North Arkansas Electric Cooperative in Mountain Home Friday. The youngster and his father, Robert McClanahan were in town to promote an all-day yard sale set for Sept. 27 at NAEC offices in Mountain Home, Salem and Ash Flat and a "Walk With Me" event set for Oct. 11 at Salem. The sale and walk are to raise funds for Easter Seals.

Young Riley McClanahan was the center of attention at the North Arkansas Electric Cooperative office in Mountain Home Friday during a visit to promote two upcoming Easter Seals events.

The 4-year-old from Little Rock, who is the 2003 Child Representative for Arkansas Easter Seals, seemed comfortable in the limelight, having the adults gathered around him take turns blowing on his pinwheel and making it spin.

NAEC is sponsoring an all-day yard sale Sept. 27 at its three locations -- Mountain Home, Salem and Ash Flat -- with proceeds going to Easter Seals. NAEC is now accepting items for the sale.

"We're hoping people will clean out their closets and garages and help out with this," said spokesman Jerry Estes. He said the donations are tax deductible and will be accepted through Sept. 26.

NAEC representatives can pick up donated items, he said. Anyone wanting to donate can call or stop by the NAEC office.

Or for $25 that will go to Easter Seals, people can rent an area in the parking lot to sell items during the yard sale. Estes said they will have Krispy Kreme donuts on sale at the event.

Both Riley and his father, Robert McClanahan, were sporting hats that said "Riley's Warriors" across the front. Riley's father explained that the "Riley's Warriors" organization was the presenting sponsor of the "Walk With Me" event in Little Rock two weeks ago to raise funds for Easter Seals. The Riley's Warriors team had 360 team members of the approximately 900 walkers who participated.

Another "Walk With Me" event will be Oct. 11 at Salem. Riley will be at that event along with other Easter Seals representatives and children. Estes said the one-mile walk will be on level ground. Cost to walk is $10 for students and $20 for adults, and all participants will receive a gift bag. "If you can't walk in it, you can sponsor a child," Estes said, adding that NAEC hopes to get Salem Elementary School involved.

He said it will be a fun atmosphere the day of the event with clowns, the Salem High School band and other music. The goal is to raise $8,000.

Estes said NAEC also is seeking corporate sponsorships of $100, $250, $500 and $750 for the event with the businesses getting recognition as sponsors.

The McClanahans are eager to back efforts that help Easter Seals, an organization that has helped their son who suffers from physical impairments similar to those left by a stroke. When he was 2 weeks old, a blood vessel in his brain ruptured.

The group that became "Riley's Warriors" actually originated that night as members of the Pleasant Valley Church of Christ rallied around the family. The organization has continued to grow and now is described as a group that raises money to support Arkansas Easter Seals. "Riley's got lots of friends," his father said. This was the third year for them to participate in the Little Rock "Walk With Me" event.

"We've just been so blessed by everything, we're trying to find ways we can give back," McClanahan said.

He and his daughters, ages 8 and 6, published a book about Riley called "God's Perfect Child," a book that is primarily pictures of Riley and drawings done by his sisters. Each page contains a simple statement about Riley. One page contains a picture of "Riley's Warriors" team members and says, "We prayed that God would help Riley learn to walk. God gave us lots of people to walk with us."

The book also shows photos of the Easter Seals preschool Riley has been attending, Riley taking a few steps with a walker through help from Easter Seals and Riley using a special keyboard called a Pathfinder to communicate. "We are glad that Easter Seals is there for Riley," the book says.

For more information or to obtain a copy of Riley's book, go to online or contact NAEC.

Originally published Saturday, September 6, 2003

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