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Newport man with cerebral palsy turns 80

9:12 PM, Jan 1, 2013   |    comments
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Henry Bartlett, 80, speaks about how he deals with cerebral palsy.

A Newport man is welcoming the new year after celebrating his 80th birthday on Dec. 21.

It is another milestone for Henry Bartlett who may be the oldest person alive with his condition.

Bartlett suffers from cerebral palsy.

He said because of all the therapy and treatment he received as a child, he is able to live an independent life.

"Because I looked and walked and spoke like I do, I had a hard time getting a job," Bartlett said.

Despite the odds, he worked as a bookkeeper in Miami before retiring in Newport.

He was active with the Boy Scouts of America, Kiwanis Club and served on several boards.

"What really keeps me going is God... and because I love people. I help them all my life," Bartlett said.

Bartlett lives alone in his own home but has a nurse that comes by three times a week.

"I've lived alone all my life. I don't want to go to a rest home... I love people, don't get me wrong. I want to be around people just not 24/7," he explained.

However, he encouraged parents to get their kids who have cerebral palsy out of the house saying, "They are in the house 24 hours out of the day. Because mommy and daddy haven't had the insight to get them help for their child. And it makes me very angry after I have accomplished what I have."

Those in Newport are well acquainted with Bartlett.

He eats at Sagebrush Restaurant almost every Sunday.

"I appreciate my life more and he's opened up my eyes to God a lot. We have long talks. He's just a dear friend," said Peggy Fine, who has been Bartlett's waitress at Sagebrush Restaurant for the past four years.

His friends held a surprise birthday party for him last weekend.

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