Gillette Children's Hospital: Take pledge to cure pity - KMSP-TV

Gillette Children's Hospital: Take pledge to cure pity

Posted: Updated:

At one time or another, most people have looked at a child with a disability and felt pity for him or her -- but Gilette Children's Hospital is making a push to show that these kids don't want sympathy, they want acceptance.

Long before she was reading books, 6-year-old Madison Harbarth was reading music and found a passion for piano.

"It's a part of her -- a part of who she is and who she is going to become," said Pam Harbarth, Madison's mother.

Another part of who Madison is and always will be is the rare disorder that stopped her spine from growing in utero. Because of that, she'll never be able to walk.

"It was explained to me that when she is 15, from the waist-up, she'll look like a 15-year-old girl," Pam Harbarth told FOX 9 News. "Waist down, she'll always be tiny."

Even so, Pam and Rick Harbarth don't focus on what their daughter can't do, and neither does she.

"I want to be just like anybody else," Madison Harbarth said.

And she is. Madison loves to dance, can't get enough of playing with her older brother, Connor, and she also loves to sing along with her favorite artist, Taylor Swift. Her favorite song is "Mean," and its story is one that Madison and her family are very familiar with; however, Madison was recently reminded by a classmate that it's okay to be just as she is.

"She said that just because I'm in a wheelchair doesn't mean I can't run and play," Madison recalled.

Stories like those have inspired the Harbarths to be a voice for Gillette Children's Hospital's Cure Pity campaign, which centers on the rejecting the notion that kids need pity.

"They want a world that sees them not for what they are not able to achieve, but all that they are able to accomplish through spirit, through determination -- and a world that gives them opportunities," explained Cate Pardo, with Gillette Children's hospital.

The Harbarths were able to pass that message along recently after a bus driver told Madison's parents, "I always feel sorry for kids like that."

"Then Rick said, 'You don't need to feel sorry for her. She's got a pretty good life,'" Pam Harbarth recounted.

They urge people to remember to look beyond the disability and realize that kids are capable of adapting and learning to do extraordinary things.

"Just give them a chance," Rick Harbarth urged. "In the end, they are just like you and I -- and they want the same things we want."

So far, more than 1,000 people have taken the Cure Pity pledge.

Online resource:

Powered by WorldNow

11358 Viking Drive
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

Phone: (952) 944-9999
Fax: (952) 942-0455

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices