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First Lady Makes Videotaped Announcement for Cerebral Palsy Fund

January 9, 1985

NEW YORK (AP) _ First lady Nancy Reagan on Wednesday took up the battle against cerebral palsy, videotaping a message that will be shown Saturday during a national telethon.

Mrs. Reagan posed for photographers holding hands with 13-year-old Christopher Barba of New York City, who has the disease, while the videotape was shown at the national headquarters of United Cerebral Palsy Associations.

″I think that’s pretty good,″ said Chris, after watching Mrs. Reagan’s message.

″When you support work like this, you support humanity,″ the first lady says on the tape. ″The generosity of the American people and their spirit of helping is a tradition. This annual telethon is in the spirit of that tradition and with your help, we’ll keep the spirit alive.″

When asked how she became involved in the fund-raising campaign, Mrs. Reagan replied: ″I’m involved in lots of things that have to do with children. I’m usually very available for anything that concerns children.″

Chris, in a white shirt and tie for the occasion, was cool under the pressure of a roomful of reporters and television cameras. He didn’t have much to say about the fuss.

″Chris was picked because he’s particularly verbal and friendly,″ said Nancy Glass, director of the center. ″He’s nervous and very excited.″

Chris’ father, William Barba, also was excited.

″With all the bad luck that happened last year, this is the best thing that’s happened in a long time,″ he said. He said there had been several deaths and serious illnesses in the family recently.

During her brief appearance for the press, Mrs. Reagan also presented a presidential proclamation making January National Cerebral Palsy Month to Leo Hausman, president of the United Cerebral Palsy Association of New York.

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