Cerebral Palsy Won’t Keep Montana Resident From His Rock Star Dreams

Gavin Gristy and his mother, Casey Clark

Hometown pride runs deep, even when it is shown 1,519 miles away.

WKVI’s Anita Goodan has an old school friend who is helping her son with Cerebral Palsy reach rock star status. Casey Clark, who lives in Anita’s hometown of Shelby, Montana, is asking friends and neighbors to send her son, Gavin Gristy, Christmas cards. Clark said the main purpose of this venture is to show her son that even with his physical and speech ailments, he can reach his rock star status.

“My son has Cerebral Palsy and I wanted him to have a very special Christmas this year,” explained Clark. “Things kind of get hard for him at times. He has always dreamed of being a rock star, wanting fans and wanting to get mail. So, I decided to start a Facebook thing and ask all of my friends to send Christmas cards in his name so he can go through mail and get the mail. I had no idea it was going to explode into this huge extravaganza!”

Clark noted that on Tuesday, Gristy got 154 cards – in one day. That’s rock star status! Gavin has received mail from Los Angeles, California, New York and other pieces of mail from around the world.

Gavin Gristy has a condition called Kernicterus and Choreoathetoid Cerebral Palsy which is caused by jaundice at birth. According to Clark causes him distress just with everyday movements.

“His muscle movements are very similar to people who experience Parkinson’s Disease. He’s got the twisting and turning of muscles so he is always having to correct himself when he is sitting or when he is walking because his muscles fire continuously and uncontrollably. He’s not able to control those. It’s exhausting for him all day to have to keep his body in check.”

For instance, Gavin has to get his muscles to think about picking up a glass of water.

Clark said it’s a little difficult for him to participate in other activities with other children his age as he has different needs to tend to, but don’t think that Gavin isn’t social. He loves to be around his friends and family whenever possible.

Gavin will have another obstacle to face in the near future. He also suffers from auditory neuropathy and is in the process of losing his hearing.


Clark said that Gavin is pretty thankful for all the cards he has received thus far. She recently posted a video on Facebook where he thanked everyone for their kindness in this season of giving.

“People are wrapping their virtual arms around him with love. That really means a lot to him. His message was that Christmas is not about gifts. It’s about happiness, love, joy and sharing and caring for people.”

If you would like to help an 11-year-old boy feel like he’s a rock star while battling Cerebral Palsy, address a Christmas card to Gavin Gristy, P.O. Box 405, Shelby, MT 59474. To keep up with the event, visit the Christmas Cards for Gavin event on Facebook.