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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Competitors get down in the mud to help young child
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Competitors and fans locally and from as far away as Richmond and the Carolinas took part in the sixth annual Henry Mudfest near Philpott Lake. Monies raised from the fundraiser have been presented to the parents of three-year-old Braiden Halstead of Franklin County. (Courtesy Photos)
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Monday, November 5, 2012

By MORRIS STEPHENSON - Special to The News-Post

HENRY -- A record crowd at the sixth annual Henry Mudfest fundraiser recently resulted in the largest donation ever of $6,500 being given to the family of three-year-old Braiden Halstead, who is suffering from cerebral palsy.

The child is the daughter of Jimmy and Carlie Halstead of Franklin County.

Jay Layman, one of the event's founders, said the event held near Philpott Lake "went off without a hitch" despite thunderstorms that helped saturate the area for Mudfest.

"It was a resounding success," Layman said.

Local trucks and spectators were joined by participants and fans from the Carolinas and from as far east as Richmond.

"We estimate a record-breaking 800 people were on hand for some exciting competition," Layman said.

"Braiden has spastic diplegia cerebral palsy. Each case is completely different for each child," Jimmy Halstead said

"Her gross motor skills are way behind others at this age. The main issues are that her leg muscles are so tight that she had to be injected with botox and casted multiple times to loosen her up. And, at this point, we don't know if she'll ever talk,' Halstead said.

"She is a beautiful, bright little girl and we didn't think she would ever walk correctly but with the therapy and casting, she has made substantial gains. She was walking all around the Mudfest. She is in speech and physical therapy every week and has been her fair share of specialist," Halstead said.

The parents thanked organizers of Mudfest and all of those who participated and made donations to the fundraiser.

Layman said he wanted to especially thank all of the volunteers who pitch in each year to make the event possible.

"Special thanks also go to the Franklin County Sheriff's Department for the assistance given as well as to Harvey's Mobile Home Movers, L&M Mart, David Jones Orthodontics, Providence Raceway and the Henry community," Layman said.

Layman said the group is looking forward to Mudfest 2013 next September and the people involved will be working to make it even bigger and better.

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