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Corbett Schools form Sparrow Club to assist 5-year-old Taran with medical issues.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: SPARROW CLUBS - Taran, a medically-fragile Portland boy, is surrounded by students from the Corbett School District, who will sponsor him through a newly formed Sparrow Club. Corbett Schools is joining a national movement of children helping other kids who are seriously ill through an organization called Sparrow Clubs.

"We are excited to bring this amazing opportunity for our students to experience," Superintendent Randy Trani said in an announcement.

CONTRIBUTED - Taran, 5The school held a kick-off assembly Thursday morning that Taran, the 5-year-old child they will sponsor, and his mother attended. Taran is scheduled to be a special guest at Corbett High's Friday night football game.

Sparrow Clubs not only help the medically fragile children and their families, but also empower the healthy children that sponsor them to build empathy and experience helping in their communities.

"Sparrow Clubs exist to empower and motivate kids and young people of all ages to come to the aid of local children struggling with medical need," Trani said.

The Sparrow Clubs said Taran, a Portland resident, has several medical conditions including short gut syndrome, quadriplegic dystonic cerebral palsy, cortical vision impairment and auditory neuropathy. Taran cannot hold his head up, has no functional use of his hands and cannot sit or crawl. He must be fed by a feeding tube and cannot see very well or hear.

He was born prematurely with his intestines outside his body, a condition called, gastroschsis, the Sparrow Club web page explains. Taran had five surgeries in the first week of his life and multiple surgeries since then. His latest surgery was in March and included more abdominal repair and removal of his adenoids and tonsils.

Medical bills not covered by insurance have been piling up. Taran needs special food, therapy and equipment to live.

Corbett Middle School will be the first Corbett school to launch a Sparrow Club. The clubs "set the stage for simple, yet heroic acts of kindness in schools and youth culture, through the concept of kids helping kids in medical need," Trani said.

Corbett students will raise money for Taran's care through community service and events.

The school is still organizing the club and needs students to apply to help run the Sparrow Club. They are looking for businesses and individuals to sponsor the club and members of the community to offer community service opportunities to students. Corporte sponsors Iron Eagle Trailers, Fairview and Columbia Gorge Helping Hands will contribute to the club for community services that students perform.

Parent volunteers are needed to help with fundraising and events. The school also welcomes donations in any amount for the club.

"Stay tuned for updates as we begin this journey as a Corbett community," Trani said.

The Bend-based Sparrow Clubs group has schools sponsoring 40 children, most of them in Oregon. Sponsors include the Chaney Family Foundation, Jacksonville, Ore.; Fortis Construction, Portland; Airport Chevrolet, Medford; Elmer's restaurants and Black Rock Coffee.

For more information on the Sparrow Clubs, visit sparrowclubs.org.

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