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Lakeridge community aids local family


Family forever grateful for generosity

Jimmy and Marcy Watts have supported the Lake Oswego community for years – and now students and parents have a chance to give back.

Jimmy, a long-time Lakeridge High School teacher and coach, and Marcy, a Lakeridge Junior High School counselor, need help paying for medical care for their 3-year-old son, Parker, who has cerebral palsy. Insurance isn’t covering everything, so the community is stepping in, aiming to raise $5,000 for the family.

“It is so amazing to see the same kids we teach, coach and love turn around and show such compassion and caring,” Jimmy said. “To all of our fellow colleagues, coaches and friends in the community who are rallying behind us, we are forever grateful.”

Parker is the reason Lakeridge High School’s philanthropic Sparrow Club took flight this school year. A major student-led fundraiser for him will culminate in a week of activities, March 11 through 16, including a movie night, a Habitat for Humanity group build, beautification days at the schools, bingo night and letter writing for soldiers.by: JENNI PRICE - The Lakeridge High School community is raising funds for Marcy and Jimmy Watts and their three sons, Brady and Parker, 3, and Ryder, who is almost 2. Parker, the boy in the blue shirt, has cerebral palsy.

Lakeridge’s club is a chapter of Sparrow Clubs USA, a national organization founded in 1995 that raises money for children in medical need. Teens volunteer, and a community pledges money for each hour of service.

“It’s not just about the money,” says Lizzie Aronson, a senior in the Lakeridge leadership class that’s in charge of the Sparrow Club. “It’s about the community, and it teaches kids to give back.”

Parker’s cerebral palsy makes it hard for him to move his arms and legs on his own, and he cannot sit up. The Watts’ insurance pays for 30 visits per year for any kind of therapy. Parker has several types of therapy, including physical and speech therapy, requiring about four or five visits per week. Marcy Watts says Parker’s more than his physical limitations.

“His love and his laughter just light up our days,” she says.

The Watts were running out of money, spending tens of thousands of dollars per year out of pocket on health care for Parker. After hearing about the Sparrow Clubs from a friend, the couple applied to Sparrow Clubs USA. Sparrow Clubs board member Erin Livingston learned of the family’s connection to the Lakeridge community and asked the high school if they’d be willing to start a club.

It didn't take long to decide, says Derek Abbott, leadership class teacher and friend of Jimmy and Marcy's. Abbott says the Watts have devoted a large part of their lives to Lakeridge junior and high school students.

“We need to pay it forward,” Abbott says.

Parker and Brady’s birth

When Marcy Watts was pregnant with Parker and his twin brother, Brady, all seemed fine until a routine ultrasound detected no movement from Parker. She immediately went to the hospital, and gave birth to two small but healthy babies: Brady was 5 pounds, 6 ounces, and Parker weighed just 3 pounds, 11 ounces. Brady’s little brother was in intensive care for three weeks until he was big enough to go home.

His parents didn’t notice anything was wrong until the boys were four months old. Brady was starting to wriggle around, while Parker didn’t seem to be mastering his muscles. A Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) test revealed damage to his brain, and he was officially diagnosed with cerebral palsy in August 2010, a few months shy of his first birthday.

“Parker has made me a better person all-around,” says the mother of three. “I have become stronger, more compassionate and more empathetic.”

She says she doesn’t know what her family will do long-term. They need a van to accommodate a wheelchair for Parker, who soon will be too big to carry, and a new home that's wheelchair accessible.

“My plan is to win the lottery,” she joked.

Aronson says Lakeridge needs to come through in the family’s time of need.

“We can’t let them down,” says Aronson, 17.

by: KRIS STALNAKER - Marcy Watts cradles her newborn twins, Brady and Parker. The Lakeridge High School community is raising funds for Parker, now 3, who has cerebral palsy.