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South Boston Online
South Boston Online
  Friday, March 27, 2015
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The Courageous Little Dragon
By Kevin Devlin

     Mark Lesslie is a vibrant, little boy with plenty of energy. He’s just like any other kid his age, willing to learn and have fun, but has two medical conditions, which however, have not kept him from doing what he wants to do.

     Mark was born without kneecaps. He also has Arnold Chiari Malformation. This is a condition in which the cerebellum, the back parts of the brain, the cerebellar tonsils, “slips” into the space where the spinal cord travels into the skull. This “crowding” can result in a restriction in the flow of cerebral spinal fluid into the brain and vice versa. Symptoms are varied and wide, but can include neck and back pain, as well as fatigue and dizziness. Surgery is the only way to cure this condition and Mark is scheduled to undergo treatment this month.

     Mark, 5, attends Kindergarten class at the Perry Elementary School. He loves sitting at the front of the class and playing with his friends. He said he always behaves in class.

     At home, Mark enjoys playing with his toys and games, and loves watching his “Blues Clues” video that teaches him how to tell time. He also loves his two cats Simba and Pepper.

     “I love playing with my cats,” said Mark. “I like to read books, sleep, drink Pepsi, ginger ale, and orange tonic. I eat macaroni and cheese and toasted onion bagels with cream cheese.  I love going to Karate class.”

     Mark attends the Ultimate Self-Defense and Performance Center located on West Broadway. He began last October and goes to class on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Saturdays. He competed on the Little Dragons team at the Police Athletic League Karate Tournament held in November at Madison Park High School in Roxbury, and his team finished first.

     His mom Susan is proud of her son’s involvement and progress at this center and has high praise for Director Andrea Muccini.

     “Andrea has helped Mark tremendously with his agility and his confidence,” said Susan. “You can tell she loves all of her students and demands a lot from them. She expects them to behave in class and at home. She sees their reports cards and progress reports and has also hired a tutor to help the kids while they are waiting to begin their classes. She’s just incredible and has done so much to help my boy.”         

     In return, Muccini was enthusiastic in her response when I mentioned Mark.

     “Mark has such an incredible spirit,” said Muccini. “He just keeps on going and going and has made a tremendous amount of progress. He tries to do everything to the best of his ability at all times and always puts forth his best effort.”

     Mark’s going to need a period of rest and relaxation after he undergoes his vital operation this month.

     After that, he’ll be ready to return to Karate Class with his beautiful white uniform to learn as much as he can about Kenpo Karate.

     And, you can bet he’ll be eager and determined to be the best student in his class.

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Mark "The Little Dragon" always tries his hardest in class.