10th annual fundraiser set for children with communication and swallowing disorders

Bubby Cobb was born a perfectly healthy baby boy. However, the course of Bubby’s life changed forever when he turned seven months old and was diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) from being violently shaken by a family member. Now at eight years old and under the supervision of his grandmother, Bubby has made tremendous progress since coming to the Marshall University Speech and Hearing Center.

His grandmother, Cindy Johnson, said the changes in his life are simply amazing.

"Bubby has never met a stranger; he loves people and he is a very happy boy – despite what happened to him as a baby. I am amazed at the progress he’s made since coming to the Speech and Hearing Center," Johnson said. "Before coming here, he was only able to get his nutrition intake from a feeding tube. I set a goal to have him eating by mouth and drinking by mouth, and now, after two and a half years of working with Pam Holland, Bubby is not only eating and drinking on his own, but he is learning to communicate like never before."

Bubby is one of the 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 his quality of life, Bubby was chosen as the 2017 Scottish Rite Poster Child and will be honored at the annual Scottish Rite dinner April 7.

Pam Holland, clinical director for the Speech and Hearing Center, said she is also thankful for organizations like the Scottish Rite Foundation who raise money to help children like Bubby achieve the best quality of life possible.

"With funding provided by the Scottish Rite Masons and the decisions his grandmother has made to support his endeavors, Bubby is now eating anything he wants and is learning to be a more independent and communicative young man," Holland said. "He’s made tremendous strides over the last two and a half years, and we look forward to seeing his continued process."

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.

The 10th annual Scottish Rite Spring Dinner will take place at 7 p.m. Friday, April 7, at the Don Morris Room in the Marshall University Memorial Student Center on MU’s Huntington campus, with a reception and silent auction to be held before the dinner at 6 p.m. Guest speakers for the event will include several graduate student clinicians who have worked with clients in the Feeding and Swallowing Clinic, a program within the Speech and Hearing Center.  Erin Bass, Ashley Hannah, Jessica Treskolaski and Brancie Meadows will highlight their experiences with children who are receiving feeding therapy. Holland said they hope the Scottish Rite Masons recognize the difference they make, not only in the lives of children and their families, but with student learning experiences as well.

Sponsors include Ann and Rocky Harris; Cabell Huntington Hospital; CSX; David B. Akers & Associates; Doug Reynolds; Duffield, Lovejoy, Stemple & Boggs, PLLC; Marshall Health; McDonalds; Office of the President at Marshall University; the Oshel Family, Tri-State Transit Authority; and the Marshall University College of Health Professions. Corporate tables are still available for interested sponsors.

Sodexo Catering will provide the dinner with dessert by Paula Vega Cupcakes. All proceeds from the dinner will benefit the Scottish Rite Childhood Speech and 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 by calling 304-696-3640.


Photos: (Above) Bubby Cobb was diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury at seven months old, which took away his ability to eat and communicate independently. After years of therapy with the Marshall University Speech and Hearing Center, he was happy to be chosen as the 2017 Scottish Rite Poster Child. (Below) Bubby’s grandmother Cindy Johnson (far left) works alongside Pam Holland (far right) to help Bubby learn how to eat and drink independently in the Speech and Hearing Center’s Feeding and Swallowing Clinic.