OI breaks Upper Pre-K student’s bones, but not his spirit

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Mrs. Bryan’s pre-K class, with Charlie Fayter center, takes part in Wishbone Day at the Upper Township Primary School. Mrs. Bryan’s pre-K class, with Charlie Fayter center, takes part in Wishbone Day at the Upper Township Primary School.

On Wishbone Day, primary school celebrates courage of Charlie Fayter

MARMORA – Charlie Fayter, a four-year-old student in the Upper Township Primary School’s Pre-K program, is used to visits to the doctor.

Charlie suffers from Osteogenesis Imperfecta, a condition that causes his bones to break easily. A person with OI, also known as “brittle bone,” could have hundreds of broken bones in his or her lifetime.

Charlie has had many such fractures as a result of his slow bone growth. He had seven surgeries in the last year and a half alone, according to his mother, Janet Fayter.

He takes it all in stride. Through it all, Charlie is a very spunky, bright and brave little boy, she said.

“He knows when a bone is broken,” said Janet. “He broke his arm at a birthday party in March and told me. If it’s not displaced I’ll splint it myself. He’ll tell me if he thinks he needs to go to the hospital.”

Janet said OI is a rare condition, but to Charlie’s family it’s not; it’s everyday life. Surgeons have inserted rods in his arms and legs to help reduce fractures, said Janet. Three-day long treatments every 16 weeks, in which Charlie receives an infusion of medicine for five to six hours, have become routine, she said.

Last Friday, May 6, the primary school celebrated Wishbone Day to raise awareness of Charlie’s condition in the school and community, Janet said. The day recognized Charlie’s achievement and his courage.

Wishbone Day started in Australia in 2008. Last year was the first international celebration.

Primary school principal Tim Teehan said the celebration will be district-wide next year, similar to the Upper Township school district’s recognition of autism awareness. This year, students and staff at the primary school were asked to wear yellow shirts and given yellow ribbons as part of the celebration, he said.

“This is Charlie’s first year in the district but he is very well known by the students,” said Teehan. “Our message on Wishbone Day was ‘attitude is everything.’ You have to have a good attitude like Charlie.”

Teehan said students understand why Charlie is in a wheelchair and that his bones break easily. Given the short notice for the school’s Wishbone Day celebration, Teehan said he was surprised how many kids “jumped in and participated.”

“They know Charlie, they know they have to take a little care around him,” said Teehan. “The response by the kids was impressive.”

Every student in Charlie’s class wore Wishbone Day t-shirts, said Janet.

“It was very heartwarming,” she said. “The class wrote about Charlie, many of the kids in the school know him through the KEYS program.”

KEYS is a before and after school program held in the primary school that is offered by the Upper Township school district.

More information about Wishbone Day is available online at www.wishboneday.com.

Students, teachers and staff at the primary school wore yellow Wishbone shirts to celebrate Wishbone Day, which raises awareness of Osteogenesis Imperfecta. Students, teachers and staff at the primary school wore yellow Wishbone shirts to celebrate Wishbone Day, which raises awareness of Osteogenesis Imperfecta.


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