While celebrating an 80th birthday may not be cause for great excitement for many, it certainly is for Henry Bartlett. Henry turned 80 on December 21, and may be the oldest person alive with cerebral palsy.
He believes that the therapy and treatment that he received as a child have enabled him to live independently in Newport, Tennessee. But, he has definitely struggled. As he said, “Because I looked and walked and spoke like I do, I had a hard time getting a job.” He worked as a bookkeeper in Miami for many years before finally retiring to Newport.
Bartlett lives alone to this day and has a nurse who visits him three times a week. He has been active throughout his life in Boy Scouts of America, Kiwanis Club and other organizations. As he explained, “What really keeps me going is God… and because I love people. I help them all my life.”
He encourages parents to get their kids with cerebral palsy out of the house as he explained, “They are in the house 24 hours out of the day. Because mommy and daddy haven’t had the insight to get them help for their child. And it makes me very angry after I have accomplished what I have.”
For his 80th birthday, Bartlett’s friends took him to his favorite restaurant – the Sagebrush Restaurant – for a surprise party.