Christmas special for Luling youngster

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 8, 2000

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / January 8, 2000

LULING – For Bobby Waguespack, 8, of Luling, Christmas was a joyful time, filled with toys, lots of attention and hugs. For a boy with spina bifida,it’s a blessing.

Spina bifida, a crippling disease of the spinal column, has afflicted Bobby since his birth. He’s endured more than a dozen major operations to sortout his anatomy and walks with extreme difficulty.

“He gets tired and falls a lot,” grandmother Loretta Baudoin says in their modest Barton Avenue home.

Bobby is often afflicted with severe headaches and nausea, but when he is feeling good, he’s on top of the world.

“I want to marry Britney Spears!” he tells visitors, and readily shows off his photos of the Kentwood-born pop singer torn out of fan magazines.

During this year’s holiday season he was “adopted” by the Luling-Boutte and Hahnville Lions clubs, which provided Bobby with a Nintendo 64. St.Charles Natural Gas added a Super Nintendo, and Union Carbide added a 19- inch color TV.

Jerry Desselle, marketing director for St. Charles Parish Hospital, droppedoff a welcome bag of groceries for the financially-strapped household, burdened by non-stop medical bills as well as a new fishing pole.

Desselle met Bobby at the annual Christmas community event at the West Bridge Park this year and was immediately impressed with his intelligence and charm.

“That’s my little pardna!” Desselle says, adding he and Bobby are planning to go fishing together on a regular basis. “I know a place where we canjust back the truck right up to the lake.”Told he was never going to be able to walk, Loretta smiles at Bobby as the Luling Elementary first-grader wobbles around the room on the inner edges of his feet, unaided by walker or wheelchair, determined to make it on his own.

“We call him a miracle child,” Loretta says.

Desselle adds, “What a lot of determination this little kid’s got.”Life has always been tough for Bobby, dealing with his physical limitations. However, his boundless spirit and zest for life bring everyonewho encounters him oceans of love and acres of hugs.

“He just lights up the whole world!” Loretta says, smiling.

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