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Charities come through for local family in cool way

July 24, 2013 - Ortonville- The Batson family has some of the coolest kids on the block thanks to two local charities.

When temperatures recently soared past 90 degrees, Jennifer Batson's worries soared, too.

She and her husband, Matt, have three daughters, Sidney, 7, Katerina, 2, and Ava, 3-months-old. Their middle child was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was 13-months-old, and while the disorder is mostly controlled with medication, extreme heat triggers seizures.

"The seizures break through when it is really, really hot outside or she has a fever," said Jennifer, who contacted Children's Special Health Care Services for help.

The state-run program advised her to call local charities to see if assistance was available in getting an air conditioner.

On July 18, Jennifer called the Ortonville Lions Club and the Ortonville Community Emergency Fund. The two charities came to the rescue, the very same day. Within a couple hours, Lions Club members came to her two-story home to assess the situation. The children sleep in a large bedroom upstairs and due to the small size of the bedroom's window, the air conditioning unit the Batsons were using was not adequate to cool the room.

The Lions Club donated $300, OCEF contributed $100, and the Batsons chipped in $25 for a room air conditioning unit, which the Lions Club went and purchased that night and then installed.

"It gets very hot up there," noted Jennifer. "This (new AC unit) is an appropriate BTU for the space. I am just so happy that somebody in the community was willing to help us when we couldn't provide that for her ourselves."

Jennifer works part-time as a job coach for special needs adults and she attends school full-time, dual-enrolled at Oakland Community College and Madonna University as she pursues a law enforcement degree. Matt works full-time at an oil-change shop, and attends OCC part-time, pursuing a liberal arts degree in hopes of becoming a teacher.

The couple is currently doing a fundraiser through the National Seizure Disorders Foundation to get an Emfit Movement Monitor for Katerina. The device is not covered by insurance, but will help the Batsons sleep better at night. The $650 monitor will attach to Katerina's mattress and will alert her parents if any signs of seizure activity are detected.

For now, they are getting a better night's rest knowing temperature is controlled in their daughters' room.

"I have no words to express how I feel," said Jennifer. "I would just like to say, thank you so much for helping us get the air conditioner that we needed and that we really appreciate the help."

For more information on how to assist in getting a monitor for Katerina, visit

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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