Wheels for Joshua

Food, music, 'Moonshiners' and more to be at fundraiser for special needs student
By Rachel Robles, Lifestyles editor | Mar 31, 2014
Photo by: Donated WHEELS FOR JOSHUA — The family of Joshua Barnette, a special needs student at Tuscola High School, is hosting a fundraiser to raise money for a wheelchair accessible van.

Joshua Barnette is a very special young man. At 20-years old, he has experienced life with a host of difficult medical conditions and still manages to remain a positive influence to those around him.

The son of Darrell and DJ Barnette, of Waynesville, and a student at Tuscola High School, Barnette has several developmental disabilities — cerebral palsy, seizure disorder, neuromuscular scoliosis and gastro-esophageal reflux. He requires total care with eating, lifting, turning, positioning, transferring, using the restroom, bathing, keeping clean and dry, and communicating, as well as transportation to and from school, activities and doctors’ appointments at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston Salem every three months.

His appointments in Winston Salem are for Baclofen injections; these injections are provided via a pump that is implanted in Barnette’s body and delivers the medication directly into his spinal cord. The injections help relax tight, stiff muscles, thus promoting a more active lifestyle, better sleep and a reduced need for oral medication.

Barnette has had several surgeries, including brain, hip and back. And despite his difficult journey thus far, he is a very polite young man who enjoys life and loves his family.

“What do you say about such an amazing young man?” said Mollie Ledford-Rathbone, Barnette’s aunt. “Most people think that Joshua is blessed to have a family that loves him so much, but they would be wrong.  We are blessed to have Joshua. When you are having a bad day or just need a hug and a smile, you can always count on Joshua for that. He has been through so much in his life, overcome so many obstacles and has done it all with poise, grace and an infectious happiness.”

The family is hosting a fundraiser to help raise funds for a much-needed wheelchair accessible van.

The benefit, Wheels for Joshua, will take place from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 5, at Tuscola High School.

BBQ and chicken plates with all the sides will be available for $10; hot dog plates will be available for $5.

There will be a bake sale and auction. Items up for auction include hair and beauty gift certificates, tattoos, automotive services and items from various stores around the county.

Smoke Rise and Twisted Trail will give live performances, and Julie’s Kickin’ Karaoke will be there as well. Those in attendance are sure to hear Barnette sing; one of his favorite hobbies is singing karaoke with his family.

There will be a bike run, beginning and ending at Tuscola. Registration will begin at 11:30 a.m. and the cost is $20 to participate and $10 for additional riders. As an additional bonus, most of the cast from Discovery Channel’s “Moonshiners” will participate in the bike run.

The family would like to thank the following: Julie Sabella, for spearheading the benefit; William Hoppy, for managing sound; the WNC Musicians Alliance; Julie’s Kickin’ Karaoke; Twisted Trail, Smoke Rise and David Partin Jr, for performing; the law enforcement officials who will accompany the bike run; all the volunteers, churches and individuals for their donations; Tuscola High School, for their everyday support and for allowing the family to hold the fundraiser at the school; and all the businesses that have donated to the fundraiser.

“We will never be able to thank everyone individually for all that has been done for Joshua and for us as a family,” said Ledford-Rathbone.

Donations may be made at Champion Credit Union under the name Darrell Barnette Wheels for Joshie.

For more information, call Ledford-Rathbone at 564-6366, or DJ Barnette at 316-9188.