Puppet show to benefit Maggi Blair

Wed, 03/12/2008 - 9:33am
By: The Citizen

Puppet show to benefit Maggi Blair

Lee Bryan, a.k.a. That Puppet Guy, will be performing a puppet show in honor of Fayetteville resident Maggi Blair. Maggi was first introduced to readers in an October 2006 article in The Citizen.

Maggi was born with Trisomy 9 Mosaic Syndrome and will be enduring her fourth surgery this spring. Imagine having a child with a genetic disorder, much less, one as rare as Maggi’s. Since Maggi’s website was created and put up by her father, Patrick Blair, they have been able to locate eight other children in the world living with the same syndrome.

Maggi’s mom, Donna Blair, is a singer and in 1989 performed in Six Flags Over Georgia’s Showcase Theater production of “Rama Lama Ding Dong,” where she danced with Lee Bryan.

Last year Six Flags had a reunion for performers and Lee learned that Donna could not attend due to caring for her special needs daughter, Maggi. Lee reached out to Donna and offered to do one of his puppet shows in Fayetteville to accept love offerings to help out with the financial needs for Maggi.

“The Zany Zoo” will be held at the Blair’s church, McDonough Road Baptist Church on Saturday, March 15 at 2:30 p.m. Patrick and Donna Blair have been members since December 2004. Love offerings will be accepted at the door and each child will receive a goodie bag.

Lee Bryan is a two-time grant recipient of the prestigious Jim Henson Foundation for his solo productions of “Pinocchio” and “Suitcase Circus.” His professional film credits include work with the Muppets on the feature film, “The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland.” More recently, The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences honored Lee with an Emmy nomination for his work with Public Broadcasting on the award winning Spanish language series, “Salsa!” In addition, Lee’s live solo performances are often featured at the internationally acclaimed Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta.

“The Zany Zoo,” performed almost entirely to music, features these wild and wooly animal artists charming their way into your hearts as they dangle by a thread. Be sure to watch closely because this delightful assortment of colorful characters comes to life, cabaret-style, in full view of the audience. Among the myriad members in this merry menagerie, you’ll thrill to the antics of a frog on roller skates, a weightlifting bear, a juggling dog, a bumble bee ballerina and even a belly dancing bunny.

“We have felt so alone in this walk with Maggi, especially because for so long we didn’t know anyone else that had a child with this disorder. When we finally heard from a mom in Norway, who found us on the internet, it opened up an entire new avenue of finding other families of Trisomy 9 Mosaic Syndrome online,” said Donna Blair. “Our church family has truly been in our main support. We couldn’t be more blessed having so many members and staff walk this walk along with us.”

Maggi’s upcoming surgery will be a drastic attempt to correct a 70 degree curve in her spine, however, if the surgery is not done, eventually Maggi’s lungs will be compressed more and more until she will no longer be able to breath. A growth rod will be inserted and will be adjusted throughout her young years by simply loosening a screw to lengthen the rod by entering a small area of the lower back. When Maggi gets older, there will be other options for her. Right now, Maggi is a very active little girl with a drive for books, blocks and Jeopardy.

Although Maggi cannot crawl, walk or talk, she is full of personality and strength. Despite what the geneticist told the Blairs of an average life expectancy of 3 to 5 years for children like Maggi, the family is determined to stimulate, love and provide every need possible for their little miracle. Indeed, Maggi is a miracle, with almost a handful of near death illnesses, she has recovered and gotten stronger.

Patrick and Donna Blair are Maggi’s primary caregivers and work from home to support their family. Patrick and his business partner, Jason Boyce, have started a community outreach program with their lawn care/pressure washing business. Once a month a family will be chosen to offer their services to free of charge. The ideal candidates for this outreach program are families with disabled person(s) in the home who cannot do some of the yard clean up themselves. More information about Green and Clean Lawn Care can be found at www.greenandcleanga.com.

The Blair Family considers this a great way to give back to a community that has been so good to them. Donna has been able to bring in an income from singing with a most recent job in Los Angeles, performing back-up vocals for a hit cartoon program on Adult Swim.

For more information, visit www.maggiblair.com, www.mcdonoughroad.org and www.puppetguy.com. Questions about the puppet show or how you can help? Contact Donna Blair at maggismom@yahoo.com or 678-817-4847.

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