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The Eric Factor: Special story behind today’s “WeatherKid”

Even though it's Friday and I should be excited for the weekend, this morning I found myself getting into a really awful mood. Sometimes you're the bat, sometimes you're the ball, right? But just when this happened, I walked by the mailboxes in the newsroom and found a letter.

A very nice lady named Mary from Clinton, Iowa sent a hand-written letter to me asking if her granddaughter, Payton, could become a "weatherkid." (For those outside of our area, WQAD-TV showcases a different youngster on air each morning.) Mary included a photo and the story of Payton. "She was born in 2013 with a rare genetic condition called Pontocerebellar Hypoplasia. PCH is characterized by an underdeveloped cerebellum and brainstem. This part of the brain controls functions such as eating, swallowing, walking, talking, and sight."

She said the little girl's life expectancy is "whenever."

Mary enclosed $2 so I could send a photo back to Payton for her "bucket list," and a stamp for the envelope. The fact that a three year old girl needs a "bucket list" just breaks my heart. So Mary, you and Payton are going to get those two dollars back. And I will be sending you a whole lot more.

And if I can be the catalyst to get something going, how about this? If you would like to send something nice to Payton and her family, I will personally forward anything onto them. Just send your well-wishes, letters, or gifts to me here at the station (or drop them off) and I will make sure they get where they need to go.

Just address it this way:

Eric Sorensen
WQAD-TV
3003 Park 16th Street
Moline, Illinois 61265

Gift for: Payton Marie

And, of course Payton Marie is today's News 8 WeatherKid. She's got a perfect smile to get the Quad Cities going on this Friday morning. Much love to this sweet girl. -Eric

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-Meteorologist Eric SOrensen