Four-year-old Ruby Rawlins was one of several children with cerebral palsy whose story was told at the Ohio Idols for Independence benefit concert which took place in Columbus, Ohio on Saturday, November 3.
The concert, hosted by Ohio Idol, a singing contest similar to the popular TV show American Idol, benefited children who are challenged with cerebral palsy. The goal of the benefit is to help each child with CP to find their own voice. Ruby Rawlins is the daughter of Jeff and Ilaria from Orient, Ohio. At the tender age of 15 months Ruby’s parents were worried because she had not begun to learn to walk. After many doctor’s visits they were finally informed that Ruby had CP. “From there it was a whirlwind of tests, but everything came back normal,” Ilaria said. “It is believed that Ruby has a genetic mutation, which accounts for 15 percent of all cerebral palsy cases.” Ilaria emphasizes that Ruby is just a regular four-year-old girl.
“She uses a walker to walk and wears hot pink braces,” she said. “But those are her only limitations.” Ruby’s mom added that Ruby is able to walk more than “30 steps regularly and independently. Ruby claims that by the age of 5 her walker and braces will be gone, as she will be a ‘big girl’ and won’t need them,” Ilaria added. “She is a determined little girl.”
The benefit took place at the Aladdin Shrine Temple under the auspices of Ohio Idol together with Cerebral Palsy Parent Columbus, a support group and resource for families struggling with cerebral palsy; and the MJB Foundation, a group that raises money for children with mental and physical challenges to supply them with the equipment, therapy and technology that they need to lead more independent lives.
“We believe when kids with cerebral palsy find their voice, regardless of physical ability, they achieve true independence,” said Patty Lyons, chapter co-leader of CP Parent Columbus. “Some kids find their voice through participation in sports, the arts, song or dance. Many kids with cerebral palsy need specialized care, adaptive equipment and other technology to fully participate in childhood activities and find their voice.”