Dapper Dan Club of Allegany County is a longtime friend and supporter of The League. Two of their fundraising events that benefit The League are listed below. The Dapper Dan is a wonderful organization dedicated to helping children in the area. If you, or someone you know, played Little League baseball in Cumberland then you have the Dapper Dan Club to thank! Their committment to the community and children is exceptional.
Each year Dapper Dan Club sponsors the “Dapper Dan Awards Banquet” and “Steak Feed” Proceeds Benefit The Children’s League.
THANKS TO DAPPER DAN FOR THEIR SUPPORT OF THE LEAGUE!
Annual Dapper Dan Steak Feed – Looking forward to 2023!
A wonderful event to honor and recognize the area’s best youth athletes. Thanks to Dapper Dan for their support and another successful banquet! Congratulations to all award recipients! Each year a Children’s League patient is selected as the Dapper Dan Child of the Year.
2020 Dapper Dan Child of the Year!
Bentley is a student at Cash Valley Elementary School and is in fourth grade. His teacher, Amy Eber states, “I have had the pleasure of being Bentley’s 4th Grade teacher this year. Bentley is a very hard-working and respectful young man. He comes to school with a smile on his face. Bentley has shown tremendous growth in his reading and math abilities over the course of 4th Grade. Bentley is an advocate for the underdog and stands up for what is right. I am proud of him for this accomplishment, although not surprised.” The Children’s League is no stranger to the Lepley family. Bentley’s grandmother, Sharen Lepley and his father, Cody Lepley were both patients for many years. His father, knowing the effects of CMT that his mother Sharen lived with, wanted his son to be evaluated in an orthopedic clinic at the League. In 2014 Dr. John Tis, Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon, Johns Hopkins Hospital evaluated 2 ½ year old Bentley for turning in of his feet and an unusual gait. Because of the long-standing family history of Charcot Marie Tooth Syndrome it was recommended that Bentley have genetic testing to declare the positivity of him having CMT. It was also recommended that Bentley wear a foot ankle orthotic or a well fitting high top shoe to give support to the ankle and foot. Genetics Testing was completed in October 2015 and it was declared that Bentley does carry the inherited disorder of Charcot Marie Tooth Syndrome. Charcot Marie-Tooth disease is a group of inherited disorders that cause nerve damage. This damage is mostly in the arms and legs. Charcot-Marie-Tooth is also called hereditary motor and sensory neuropathy. CMT disease results in smaller, weaker muscles. It also can cause loss of sensation, muscle contractions, and difficulty walking. Foot deformities such as hammertoes and high arches are also common. Symptoms usually begin in the feet and legs, but may eventually affect the hands and arms. Symptoms of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease typically appear in adolescence or early adulthood, but may also develop in midlife. Bentley continues his routine orthopedic clinic visits at The League. He also receives physical therapy and occupational therapy. Knowing that CMT can progress even into adulthood Dad, Grandmother, Jenny Vought, League Physical Therapist and Dr. Ranjit Varghese, Johns Hopkins Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon, keep a close watch on this young man for any signs of CMT progression. Eric Follett, Special Education Teacher at Cash Valley School, or as Bentley calls him “Mr. F” states, “I have worked with Bentley for the past four years and am amazed at his progress in all areas. Bentley is a very enthusiastic young man. He is a great story-teller and is passionate about the outdoors. He enjoys swimming, soccer, bowling and playing with his dad’s new puppy. Bentley likes learning new things and pushes himself to be the best he can be.” Bentley has participated in all CASL (Children’s Adaptive Sports League) sports events since it’s beginning in 2019. CASL is focused on providing a special need adaptive sports and socialization program for children. Cathy Growden, Executive Director of The Children’s League says, “Bentley is a unique young man and one who easily captures your heart. Helping three generations of the Lepley family and getting to know each one personally, has been a true pleasure. The compassionate medical care by the League pediatric orthopedists and therapists, given to the Lepley family and to all League patients, is what The Children’s League is all about.”
2019 Dapper Dan Child of the Year!
John McFarland, III will be honored as The Children’s League, Dapper Dan Child of the year at the 71st Annual Dapper Dan Awards Banquet, Sunday, February 23, 2020 at the Ali Ghan Shrine Club. John is 14 years old and resides in Cumberland, Maryland with his parents John and Alice McFarland along with 2 younger brothers and 3 younger sisters. John attends Fort Hill High School and is in ninth grade.
John was premature and born 2 ½ months early. In 2007 his pediatrician, Menchavez Pediatrics, referred him to The Children’s League for developmental delay, failure to walk and speech delay. He received weekly speech therapy through The Children’s League and he continues to see The League’s physical therapist, Jenny Vought, as well as pediatric orthopedic surgeon Dr. John Tis, from Johns Hopkins Hospital. In 2009 he was given a diagnosis of spastic diplegic cerebral palsy. He was prescribed an ankle foot brace, received right gastroc Botox injections and bilateral serial casting for his heel cord contractures. Surgical options to help with his gait and alignment have been discussed and certainly are a possibly in the near future. John has also been evaluated at Shriner’s Hospital in Philadelphia.
AJ and Ayden Tyler
2018 Dapper Dan Children of the Year!
Twin brothers Ayden and A.J. Tyler will be honored as The Children’s League, Dapper Dan Child of the Year at the 70th Annual Dapper Dan Awards Banquet, Sunday, February 24, 2019 at the Ali Ghan Shrine Club. Ayden and A.J. are 9 years old and reside in Oldtown, MD with their parents, Allan Tyler and Jennifer Carder. They are in the third grade at Flintstone Elementary School. Their teacher Mrs. Kristi Athey says, “AJ and Ayden have come so far this year. At the beginning of the school year, they both were very bashful and had trouble communicating with others. Both of the boys now always make eye contact with adults and their classmates and are so well liked by all. Whenever you see a group of students in the classroom, you can be assured that AJ and Ayden are in the middle of that group. Every single third grader can’t wait to get the chance to sit beside each of the boys and, in particular, get very excited to play with them during their favorite time of the day……..recess! I’ve taught at Flintstone Elementary School for 32 years and consider myself blessed to be a part of AJ and Ayden’s educational experience.
For parents raising twins it is a double dose of everything, twice the hugs, kisses and fun, as well as twice the number challenges. With the Tyler twins you also get a double dose of toughness, courage and hard work. Beyond the typical ups and downs of raising a pair of growing, energetic twins the family also contends with the boy’s Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a genetic neuromuscular disorder that causes progressive muscle loss and weakness, which was diagnosed when they were just a year old.
Due to complications and a high-risk pregnancy problems arose even before birth. Born several months premature, both boys weighed less than two pounds. Ayden had open-heart surgery at just three days old and stayed in the NICU Unit at WVU hospital for three and a half months. AJ had the same heart surgery at 3 and a half months old and was a NICU patient for over five months. “They were tiny, tiny tots,” Jennifer said. “Now they have a little meat on their bones,” she added with a laugh.
At 18 months old the Infant & Toddler Program referred them to The Children’s League; where they are followed for their Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and scoliosis by Dr. John Tis, pediatric orthopedic surgeon form Johns Hopkins Hospital. They both have had Achilles lengthening surgery and have worn foot/leg braces to help with their stability and gait. “They started getting physical therapy at home, and now we come to The Children’s League for braces and for checkups on their muscles and spines,” Jennifer said. “We usually come once every 6 months to get prescriptions for braces and we see the doctor once a year. We’ll come more often if we need to.”
Other than their many challenges with their disease, the boys are about as normal as kids can be. They are third graders that love playing ball at recess. AJ likes science while Ayden enjoys reading. They get As and Bs, and like watching football and wrestling, as well as playing on the computer and playing outside. Their condition does not stop them from riding 4 wheelers, horsing around and playing with their dogs, Maggie and Patch.
While handling the boy’s medical issues is constantly a priority for Jennifer and Allan, they take it day by day. Jennifer says, “You can’t worry about the future, it’ll do nothing but stress you out. The Children’s League has played a big role in reducing that stress. They help me a great deal. I can always ask any questions and they are there to answer them. They love the kids like they are their own. Without them this would be a lot harder.” The Children’s League Executive Director, Cathy Growden states, “That is exactly what we hope the League does for every child we have the opportunity to care for, to treat each one as if they are our own, always giving the best of care to all of our patients and their families. The League is passionate about children and compassionate about their care.”
As the family navigates the challenging days and balances them out with the good ones, it is clear that the difficulties the twins face are reduced because they are going through them together. Jennifer states, “It might not be easier on me, but it’s easier on them. We handle it the best we can. Boys will be boys. Just because their muscles don’t work like everyone else doesn’t stop them from being kids.”
Thanks to The Children’s League, Jennifer and Allan can spend less time dwelling on their son’s condition and more time enjoying the best and most important parts about raising their twin sons and watching them grow up.
2017 Dapper Dan Child of the Year!
Grady Rizer will be honored as The Children’s League, Dapper Dan Child of the Year at the 69th annual Dapper Dan Awards Banquet on Feb. 25 at the Ali Ghan Shrine Club.
Grady is 15 years old and resides in Rawlings with his parents, Jody and Roger Rizer. He receives special education services at Fort Hill High School. “I have known Grady for approximately eight years,” said teacher Brett Scott. “He has never spoken an audible word, but lets you know exactly what he is thinking. He speaks volumes through his facial expressions and actions, and has his own special way of expressing himself to parents, friends, nurses, teachers, etc. He has a way of lighting up a room when entering, especially with his smile.”
Grady is involved in the Football Buddy Program. His football buddy is Trey Bishop, who said, “Grady doesn’t get the chance to be in the spotlight. I’m glad I can give him and his family a chance to experience even a small part of it. I am beyond grateful to have gotten to know him and his family.”