For many years I have been amazed by the enthusiasm and energy of one boy. His name is Patrick Sharrock.
He is now 9 years old and he has lived his life with those qualities and many others including a desire to encourage others and a great sense of humor despite facing the issues of growing up a rare bone disease called osteogenesis imperfecta or O.I.
According to the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation website, “O.I. is a genetic disorder characterized by bones that break easily, often from little or no apparent cause.”
His parents Michael and Cynthia Sharrock make their home in Catoosa County near Rossville near where I live. They and Patrick have been an extended part of my family for many years because I have reported on the amazing progress he has made with the care given at the Shriners Hospital in Lexington, Ky. as the men of the Alhambra Shrine Temple in Chattanooga, Tenn. worked to make his and his parents’ lives better.
After his birth, a doctor gave Michael and Cynthia a bleak outlook on his future.
“The doctor said, ‘do not put a lot of faith in this child’; it was like he was telling us he is going to die so cut your losses and try again,” Michael said.
“Initially I was scared to death,” he said. “Once I found out my son was so fragile I would drive 15 miles an hour dodging ever pot hole, taking the curves slowly. I was petrified.”
He was afraid any jar might break one of Patrick’s bones.
“I would still pick him up and handle him; my wife at first was scared to handle him,” he said. “I would jump at anybody that approached him; I would guard him like a watch dog even against nurses.”
Even though Patrick and Cindy still watch him like a hawk, as I watched him dance around and entertain hundreds of people who had gathered in front of their small home to hear the following words: “Move that bus!” it was sure to see that Patrick was reveling in the excitement.
What excitement? Well for those who might have never seen the show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” that is the excitement.
Over basically a week while the Sharrocks were sent on a short vacation, the stars and thousands of volunteers knocked down their small ranch house that was in disrepair and dangerous for Patrick and built a house that will make all their lives much easier and safer.
Of course, the family has had to keep the interior under wraps from everyone until the big show airs on May 15 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.
“I believe this house is made with a lot of love, a lot of sweat and tears,” Cindy said after returning from volunteering herself to help some of her Catoosa County neighbors who lost their homes in the recent string of Southern tornadoes. “We find out one of the people who helped build this for us lost his house today.”
She said the designers worked with an OI patient family from Peking, Ill. to help design the house with amazing safety features for Patrick.
“All these years we have protected Patrick from people,” she said. “Now they have come out and loved us. Now they know about the condition and we are embracing them and helping.”
Many years ago I wrote a story about Patrick saying that “superheroes come in all sizes” and I am honored that the Extreme Makeover expanded on that theme and incorporated it into what they did for Patrick and his family.
If you have time please, spend some time with a family that will touch your heart and watch Ty Pennington and all the rest of the gang from Catoosa County, Ga.