Harrison Lee Carthew was diagnosed with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy and developmental delays at the age of 15 months. He couldn’t walk until he was four.
In the countdown to the 56th annual Channel 7 Telethon fundraiser, Gosnells Primary School is overflowing with excitement, with students and parents warmly supporting the “new celebrity” at the school.
With just 10 days to go until West Australians can once again help children in need, the primary school on Tuesday hosted a fundraising event in which children could dress up in free dress in the colour blue, and then pose in a photo with Harrison for a gold coin donation.
The students lined up in their blue outfits and eagerly waited for their special photo with Harrison, who is described as a “very popular boy” and a “social butterfly”.
They gave him handmade cards, with one describing him as a “star”.
Harrison said he was super excited about Telethon, and so far along the journey he’s loved posing for photos, meeting retired West Coast star Nic Naitanui and helping promote Telethon at various events.
Gosnells Primary School principal Scott Tapper said he wanted to do something personal for Harrison as it was a “once in a lifetime” occasion.
“He loves photos and the colour blue,” he said.
“It has been super important to us, it’s not every day you have a Telethon child at your school. He’s a really special kid and a well-loved student.
“The kids have embraced it and it’s a really good opportunity to educate them.
“Being a Telethon kid is significant, especially as he’s from Gosnells. I don’t think there’s ever been a Telethon child from this area.”
The school has also made modifications to the school grounds, which include lower-to-the-ground drink fountains, ramps around the school and adjustments to the playground — something his mother Pay Pay Carthew has been grateful for.
“It’s a beautiful school, very community-oriented,” Ms Carthew said.
“He is so sociable and funny. His speech is delayed but he really tries to keep up.”
Harrison receives hour-long physio and speech therapy treatments after school at least three times a week.
“We’ve had a long life of therapy, and although we are busy, it’s now a fun type of busy,” Ms Carthew said.
“It’s important to show him that it’s not just about therapy, but the fun stuff too.
“And Harrison is there to represent all the kids that can’t make Telethon. We’re grateful for this journey, the adventures and the experience, it’s something we’ll never forget.”
Fern Tuffin, Harrison’s teacher, described him as an “inspiration”.
“He’s an amazing kid. Even when he is having problems, he always comes in with a smile,” she said.
The school is also hosting a mega raffle and with the school being a polling booth for the referendum vote, it will also conduct fundraising activities on Saturday.
The 2023 Telethon weekend will be back at RAC Arena on October 21 and 22 with the extravaganza to be broadcast live on Channel 7 and 7plus.
By Lauren Price
First published at https://thewest.com.au/genwest/news/telethon-2023-gosnells-primary-school-students-rally-behind-little-telethon-star-harrison-lee-carthew-c-12169950
Images credit: Andrew Ritchie/The West Australian