Taking Flight: Mr. PHS

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PHOENIX, Ore. — Flying together, it’s a mother-son date. Just days before Mother’s Day, Angie Whitman and her 5-year old son Antonio headed to Phoenix High School’s Mr. PHS event. The young men showed off their moves and answered random questions, “What would you do if you had a million dollars?”

“I would donate it to our sparrow,” said the contestant who would go on to win it all, Andrew Reynoso; bringing attention to the real man of the hour.

Mr. PHS benefits the school’s sparrow, Antonio Prince, a 5-year old boy with something doctors can’t even diagnose. They do know it’s a degenerative neurological disorder, stopping his progression. Last year, doctors gave him just until August.

But Antonio’s mom says he’s a fighter, “It wasn’t the first time they gave me a time limit on him; he came and went and far exceeded it, and he’s doing that again.”

Antonio is unable to walk, eat and talk.

“I’ve never heard him say mom and I’m sure I never will,” but it’s what he can do, capturing the hearts of the students at Phoenix High School.

“He laughs, he’s able to laugh, that’s one thing this disease hasn’t taken from him,” says PHS freshman Brandon Calhoun. “He’s able to smile.”

“I peeked at him a few times. He was laughing; he was having a good time.”

A good time that meant something special for one of the event’s student organizers.

“I wanted to help in the way my family was helped when my brother was a sparrow,” says senior Omar Ramirez.

But a personal connection to sparrow clubs isn’t necessary to create a personal connection with their sparrow.

“I realized, I could do something,” senior Osmaida Balbuena says. “It makes me proud, everything we worked on did something and made him happy and his mom happy. It makes my heart happy”

These students are not only supporting Antonio and his mom financially, but emotionally, “It can get lonely just him and I.”

“Even though they’re kids, they’re still friends. They’re still near and dear to our hearts. They have dramatically impacted our life over the last several months. It’s something I will never forget.”

Creating the ultimate Mother’s Day gift.

“I’m grateful he chose me to be his mom.”

Antonio has undergone several tests. His genome is being mapped right now. The event raised hundreds of dollars for him and his mom.