Maggie needs a new bath: Fundraiser will support girl with cerebral palsy

Published 12:10 am Monday, October 19, 2015

There is just something about that smile

By David Freeze
For the Salisbury Post

Known for her bright smile, Maggie Turney is accustomed to having people come by just to see it. Though she has cerebral palsy and is usually confined to a wheelchair, Maggie is actively involved in a plenty of activities. Sometimes she is relegated to cheering for others, but she is always happy to see them do well. In fact, Maggie isn’t bothered that there are certain things she can’t do.

Magnolia “Maggie” Turney is now 14 years old and was born with cerebral palsy. She lives on a small farm in Rockwell with her mother and four siblings. She especially enjoys gardening, tractors and being active in American Heritage Girls. She sings, plays the piano and rides horses.

As Maggie has grown, her bathroom is no longer large enough for her wheelchair; she has to be lifted over the toilet to get to the tub. The bathroom cannot be expanded. Earlier remodeling included a new sink, door and cabinets, but Maggie outgrew them right away.

Maggie wants to regain her independence by being able to do more things for herself, and that requires a bigger, handicapped-accessible bathroom.

Randy and Pam Elium are hosting a fundraiser for just that purpose.

It will be held on their farm at 2085 Lake Road on Saturday, Oct. 24 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Lake Road is between U.S. 52 and Stokes Ferry Road, near Granite Quarry.

Randy Elium said he and Pam just want to help the Turney family.

“When we are around them, it is like we have little girls again,” he said.

The Eliums plan a festive night with entertainment by the Back Creek Bluegrass Boys, a silent auction and a raffle. Already the silent auction will include hunting items, John Deere toys, art, local honey, birdhouses, books and more. The raffle includes a John Deere gun safe, a Stihl chainsaw and a Cheerwine bench.

A chicken and dumpling meal with pinto beans and hot dogs will be available for a donation. The food is provided by Debbie Suggs Catering. Tickets for the raffle cost $5 for one ticket and $20 for five tickets.

Maggie’s family was told that she would never speak at birth. Born in Florida, Maggie was sent to a special school for those who couldn’t talk. Her mom, Amanda, taught her sign language and said, “People would go out of their way just to see Maggie smile while she was at the school.”

Maggie received speech therapy using horses and was able to strengthen her diaphragm muscles. Maggie soon began to speak, starting with the words “home,” “light” and “mama.”

A speech therapist incorporated singing into her treatment and helped Maggie begin to speak in sentences. Maggie continues to take those singing lessons.

Maggie’s siblings are Ayla, Keira, Koa, and Levi, ages 2-9. Amanda Turney, a single mom, said they are a big help. “Ayla helps to lift Maggie and all the kids are very patient with her,” Amanda said. “Maggie has chores but they all will help her. When we go to the doctor’s office, everyone has to go. Other than Levi, just on occasion, they have been great in that environment.”

Amanda said, “She still is quite stubborn but has always been perceptive of others. She used to hold her breath till she would turn blue. A family member in the medical field told me not to worry about this, that she would get over it. She left that habit behind after about a year.”

No timetable has been set for the construction of a new bathroom to yet, but Amanda says they will know more after the fundraiser. “I have made some inquiries, but I know that we will need materials, labor and some experience.”

She and Elium expect the total cost of the construction to be in the range of $20,000. Several local carpenters have already committed some time to the project.

Elium and others have been selling tickets for the raffle. So has Amanda Turney. She said, “I have been to a lot of places and just ask them to help.” Elium expects more items to be added to the auction. He said, “I just want to see Maggie smile even more. This is going to be her day!”

Contact Elium at 704-213-2661 and Turney at 704-305-4156 for more information.