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story.lead_photo.caption COURTESY PHOTO/Four-year-old Zane Smythia, grandson of Frank and Carolyn Williams, hands out fresh roses to the women at the Noel Senior Center on Mother's Day. The Williams' brought Zane to the center to visit with the ladies and learn about the art of giving.

Zane Smythia is an unstoppable, smiling force on wheels. The four-year-old loves superheroes, playing outside and chocolate pudding. His mother, Twyla, says he's also known to be constantly showing off in his wheelchair.

"He's super independent and loves to 'go fast,'" she said.

Zane was diagnosed with spina bifida at birth. At eight days old, a permanent shunt was placed in Zane's brain to redirect fluid collecting there. He spent the first few weeks of his life in the neonatal intensive care unit and currently receives ongoing therapies.

"With spina bifida comes permanent defects; however, Zane doesn't feel that he's any different than his friends," said Twyla. "He has such positive attitude and a smile that will win anyone over."

This proved true during Zane's recent visit to the Noel Senior Citizen's Center. Zane lives in Webb City with his parents, Twyla and Nick, but visits McDonald County to spend time with his extended family. Zane's grandparents, Frank and Carolyn Williams, brought him to the center before Mother's Day with a mission in mind -- teaching Zane the importance of giving to others. He distributed more than a dozen roses to the women present and made new friends along the way.

"Zane is very social and loves people," Twyla said. "We just wanted to teach Zane to be a gentleman and have respect for the ladies and his elders."

Family friend and director of the center, Louine Gardner, said the women at the center lit up when Zane approached them.

"You should have seen their faces," she said. "They were all smiles as he chatted with them."

Zane also enjoyed his time with the women and their shared excitement.

"I believe he felt a sense of pride and accomplishment because he is very independent in his wheelchair and he did most of the handing out of flowers by himself," said Twyla. "He loved the responses and attention from the ladies as well."

Community on 06/14/2018

Print Headline: Four-year-old learns art of giving

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