Friday, April 05, 2013
Contact: Megan Archer, Assistant to the Dean, College of Health Professions (304) 696-7153

Marshall University hosts annual fundraiser to raise money for children with speech disorders

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – When Emily York was three years old, she told her mother, “Mommy, my brain won’t let me say that.”

As a child, Emily was diagnosed with severe apraxia of speech, which denied her the ability to be understood by her family.  Now at six years old, Emily has made incredible progress working with speech therapists at the Marshall University Speech and Hearing Center (MUSHC). Her mother, Melissa York, said she is amazed by how far Emily has come.

“At one time, Emily could not even say her own name,” York said. “Kids at school would ask her, ‘Why can’t you talk right?’ and as a mother, I just couldn’t deal with that. I can’t help but wonder where we would be today if it weren’t for Marshall’s Speech and Hearing Center.”

Emily is one of many children who have been helped over the years through the Scottish Rite Childhood Speech and Language Program at Marshall University. Due to the improvements in her speech, Emily was chosen as the 2013 Scottish Rite Poster Child and will be honored at the annual Scottish Rite dinner on Monday evening.

Since 2002, the Scottish Rite Program has provided comprehensive services to children with communication disorders, without regard to creed, race or a family’s ability to pay.  Mickey Martin, president of the Scottish Rite Foundation, said the organization has raised more than half of a million dollars since its founding and has given much of that to Marshall University.

“Everything we do is for the kids, because there’s always going to be a child with speech problems,” Martin said. “You just never know when you can touch someone’s life. As long as we keep filtering money into Marshall, we will continue to do this.”

Emily said she is very excited to be chosen as this year’s Scottish Rite Poster Child. She said she wants people to know if they have a speech problem, they can come to Marshall University.

“If my friend had problems like me, I would try and help them like Marshall helped me,” Emily said. “When I grow up, I’m going to be a speech therapist, too.”

The 6th annual Scottish Rite Spring Dinner will take place at 6 p.m., Monday, April 8, at the Don Morris Room in the Marshall University Memorial Student Center on MU’s Huntington campus. Guest speakers Dr. Joe and Toby Werthammer will present “Hope and the Long Road Home…The Story of Nick,” which tells of their son’s remarkable recovery after a traumatic brain injury left him unable to speak at the age of 15.  Today, after years of speech therapy with the MUSHC, Nick is 31 years old with a family and fulfilling career at Cabell Huntington Hospital.

Outback Steakhouse will provide a full-course dinner with desserts by Paula Vega Cakes for those in attendance. All proceeds from the dinner will directly benefit the Scottish Rite Child Speech-Language Program through the Speech and Hearing Center, which serves as a training site for students in the Department of Communication Disorders at Marshall University. Tickets are still available and can be purchased through the Department of Communication Disorders in the Marshall University College of Health Professions by calling 304-696-3640.


Photos: (Above) Emily York was diagnosed with apraxia of speech which took away her ability to be understood by friends and family. After three years of therapy with the Marshall University Speech and Hearing Center, she was happy to be chosen as the 2013 Scottish Rite Poster Child. (Below) Emily York works with her speech therapist Emily Rowe twice a week at the Marshall University Speech and Hearing Center through the Department of Communication Disorders.

For further information, contact:  Office of University Communications
Marshall University | 213 Old Main | Huntington, WV 25755-1090
Fax: (304) 696-3197