Liebl found telethon exciting, fun

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 6/16/99.

Danielle Liebl, 8, found being on television was exciting and fun.

Liebl was one of eight patients from Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare Clinic selected to appear on the Children's Miracle Network "CMN Champions" broadcast.

Three weeks before the telethon was scheduled to air, the families of the children were invited to tour the television station and the set for the telethon.

"The children were able to sit on the set and pretend they were television personalities," Sherri Liebl, Danielle's mom, said. "They even got to look through the cameras, go into the control room, and green room. The children couldn't figure out why it was called the green room when it was really blue inside," she added.

On the day of the telethon, June 5, the families were to be at the Channel 9 studio by 5 p.m. Danielle had a live interview with Robyn Robinson, Angela Hampton, and Jeff Grayson.

When asked about the telethon, she said it was fun and they got to eat a lot of neat food like pizza.

The studio had a basketball hoop set up to help the children pass time. "Sam (Scaman the weatherman) played basketball with me," Danielle said. According to Sherri, he spent a lot of time with the children.

Danielle said her favorite part of the telethon was playing with the other children.

During the telethon, Danielle presented Robinson with a donation of $323 from her first grade class, elementary, and ECFE staff. Cassie also challenged Paynesville area residents to make a donation.

After the telethon was over, the large portrait of Danielle that was on display during the telethon was given to Liebls. "The picture is so big, I don't know where we'll put it yet," Sherri said.

The daughter of Mike and Sherri Liebl, Danielle has cerebral palsy. Before her first surgery to derotate the bones in her legs, she was pretty unsteady on her feet. If someone walked by her quickly, she'd tumble over, says her mother, Sherri.

Danielle first went to Gillette's Motion Analysis Lab so that doctors could pinpoint the cause of her walking problems and determine the best treatment. Soon after, Danielle had derotation osteotomies to straighten the bones in her legs...bones that had become twisted as the result of the spasticity in her muscles.

In August, Danielle will be under-going more surgery to remove the plates in her hip and ankle. Danielle has under-gone five different surgeries. She goes twice a week to St. Cloud Hospital for therapy, something she has been doing since she was five months old.

The CMN telethon raised about $1.1 million this year compared to $765,000 last year.

"If possible, the whole family decided they would like to answer telephones for the telethon next year," Sherri said.

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