Windham Lee named ambassador child

Published 9:30 pm Thursday, October 16, 2008

Windham Lee, Jr. the son of Windham and Teila Lee of Demopolis, was named the local ambassador child for the March of Dimes.

Windham, age 2-1/2, was born with oral facial digital syndrome (Type I). He uses a trach tube to breathe and sign language to communicate, as he has difficulty speaking. He is going through speech therapy.

He enjoys reading his books, including Thomas the Train and Clifford the Big Red Dog. He like playing with his family, and his 5-year-old sister, Miley, helps to teach him things and play with him.

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“This is a very unusual syndrome,” his mother, Teila, said. “They don’t know a lot about it. There are not a lot of children with it. There are different types of this syndrome. The type that Windham has, there are no males known to exist that we know of, with Type I. They hesitated to diagnose him with this because of that; no males with it have lived through birth.

“When he was first born, they didn’t expect him to live, due to the airway. So, the fact that he’s here is a miracle, 2-1/2 years later. He was at Children’s Hospital for three months, and we stayed there for a week to learn how to take care of the trach tube and everything.”

Teila said that Windham has to stay away from enclosed areas that may carry a lot of germs and other places that may expose him to respiratory diseases.

“He is responsive; he does answer questions,” she said. “He is trying to walk. He’s walking with a walker at this point. Otherwise, he’s a typical boy. He likes cars, Thomas the Train — loves Thomas the Train, trucks and tractors.”

Little Windham’s zest for life despite his difficulties made him an obvious choice for the March of Dimes.

“We looked into the community to find someone whose life was changed by birth defects or premature birth,” said Jennifer Thomason, the community director for the March of Dimes.

There will be a hot dog and bake sale at Food World this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., sponsored by Robertson Banking Company. Proceeds will go to the March of dimes.

Thomason said that the annual March of Dimes Walk will take place on Saturday, Oct. 25, at the Demopolis City Landing pavilion. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m., with the walk beginning at 9 a.m.

The walk will go from the pavilion up Main Avenue to downtown Demopolis, then will return along the same route.

Last year, 50 people took part in the walk, which raised $15,463.

“Gold sponsors this year include Alabama Power, Bryan W. Whitfield Memorial Hospital and RockTenn Paper,” Thomason said.

“Our silver sponsors are Robertson Banking Company, Cemex and Parr Chevron, and our bronze sponsors are BankTrust, New Era Caps and Southern Tank leasing.

“After the walk, area restaurants will donate food for the participants, and Rey nolds Vending will donate the drinks. Door prizes will also be available.”

For information about the March of Dimes Walk or to make a donation, contact Jennifer Thomason at 289-6814 or see her at Robertson Banking Company.