Drew Walking Tall

One year ago, supporter Alyssa Farthing of Sturgis, Ky., wrote to Random Acts about a young family looking for a little bit of help.

“Janel and Nathan Gatten’s son Drew has been having surgeries [for his TARS Syndrome],” she wrote, “and I wanted to help with their finances.” Thrombocytapenia Absent Radaii, or TARS, is a rare condition characterized by the absence of the radial bone (the “forearm”) and a deficiency in blood clotting platelets. In infants, the condition can cause severe hemorrhaging in the brain, leading to further developmental problems — and in young Drew’s case, additional physical impairments.

Explains Drew’s mother Janel on their blog, “Drew’s legs were also affected by TAR. He was born with legs that were internally rotated below the knee as well as the inability to straighten each leg. This left him unable to stand or walk.”

Alyssa refused to sit back and do nothing. After receiving a grant from Random Acts, she was able to organize funding for co-pay and travel expenses, fuel, food, and a hotel room for an upcoming surgery follow-up with world renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. Dror Paley at the West Palm Beach, Fla. offices of the Paley Institute.

“The Gattens and their volunteers have organized fundraising events in the past to support surgeries and travel, but this time they only had around 30 dollars left of the thousands of dollars they managed to raise in earlier months,” wrote Alyssa.

With Alyssa’s help and the help of many other kindhearted volunteers and donors, little Drew, now six, is slowly learning to walk on his own without the assistance of a walker or other aids, thanks to his multiple corrective surgeries at the Paley Institute.

“We knew very early that Drew would be different,” writes Janel on her blog. “[But] Drew is almost oblivious to his unique qualities, [and he teaches] those of us fortunate enough to be a part of his life that if we believe that we have limits, we’re right.”


This act of kindness was sponsored by Random Acts. 

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