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Author: Garrett Nantz

Jonah

  • 6 Years Old

  • Heart Defect

Our next recipient of a dream therapy room makeover is sweet Jonah. This blonde haired, blue eyed surfer boy is a six-year-old who is full of life and an absolute joy to be around. He loves watching the Braves play, dancing to songs at Vacation Bible School and reading books. He can often be found playing hide and go seek, making crafts or being silly with his sister. Jonah’s life started differently than expected. After birth, he was found to have a cleft palate. The pediatrician also referred him to cardiology as he thought he heard an inconsequential heart murmur. Following the cardiology examination, Jonah was hospitalized immediately and they gave his parents life changing news. They told them that Jonah had a series of four major heart defects and they couldn’t believe that he was alive. Jonah was hospitalized for twenty-eight days. They were able to monitor him and discovered that he had Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome (HRHS), pulmonary stenosis, subaortic stenosis, bicuspid aortic valve and an atrioventricular septal defect. After closing his Patent Ductus Arteriosus, they then put in a g-tube and closed two hernias. His significant medical procedures did not stop there. Months after these surgeries, he endured the Glenn bidirectional surgery. Jonah was also in and out of the hospital several times due to colds and viruses. He had his cleft palate repaired when he was approximately a year and a half old.

Jonah was hospitalized for twenty-eight days. They were able to monitor him and discovered that he had Hypoplastic Right Heart Syndrome (HRHS), pulmonary stenosis, subaortic stenosis, bicuspid aortic valve and an atrioventricular septal defect.

He had kidney surgery at two and a half years old. In June of 2017, Jonah had his third stage heart surgery called the Fontan. Jonah will more than likely undergo another heart intervention in the future. Jonah had his tonsils and adenoids removed in June 2018 and will undergo another palate surgery in August 2018 to correct velopharyngeal incompetence. He is ready to take on all of these procedures with the spirit of a true warrior. Currently, Jonah is considered nonverbal, but is gaining momentum daily in speech. Jonah has a device to communicate, however most often he chooses to use words and sign language to make his needs known. Jonah loves going to school, doing hippotherapy at McKenna Farms, visiting the library and hanging out at Barnes & Nobles. He is a bright child that is willing to help with any chore whether it is yardwork, laundry or unloading the dishwasher washer. Jonah has been a fighter from day one. When doctors tell us that Jonah will not be able to do something, he defies the odds and proves them wrong. They told us that Jonah wouldn’t crawl or walk, but he did! He was tube-fed for years, but after participating in an intensive therapeutic feeding program at Marcus Feeding Clinic, he can now eat any food he wants and drink from cups. Jonah proves that where there is a will, there is a way! He is full of heart and vigor. Despite the challenges he has faced, Jonah’s radiant smile and infectious laughter have both remained constant. Sunshine on a Ranney Day wants to see more of his brilliant smiles and that’s why we can’t wait to finish his dream therapy room makeover! We’d love to have you join us at the unveiling of his newly redesigned therapy room!
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Photography by Nicole Photography

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Photography by Pear Tree Photography
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Devon

  • 20 Years Old

  • Spinal Injury

You may have heard the story. You may think you understand the challenges Devon Gales and his family have faced over the last 2 years since Devon suffered a traumatic spinal injury during a football game between the University of Georgia and Southern University. There’s always more to the story, however, and for Devon and the Gales family, there’s a lot more life to live. Starting the next chapter is where we can help. If you do a Google search for “Devon Gales”, chances are you’ll find pictures of a smiling young man, probably wearing a cross around his neck, and possibly with his Mom, Tish, close by his side. Those are just a couple of the things that have helped Devon through many of the adversities he’s faced in his life. Devon has been dealing with challenges since the day he was born. He was born with a birth defect and almost didn’t make it through his first few days. He persevered from the outset, however, and the world has gained a shining, happy smile, with a spirit to match, as a result. Through the adversity in his life, Devon’s parents, Tish and Donny, have always pointed to God’s plan. It’s been through this profound faith instilled in the entire Gales family that they have pressed forward, confident that God has a plan and a place for us all. Perhaps the biggest challenge to that long-instilled faith was first realized on September 26th, 2015. Devon had only received a few chances to play in the first half of the game. He was committed to do his part on a kickoff return at the beginning of the 2nd half. He saw that opportunity present itself as Georgia’s kicker, Marshall Morgan, charged down the field. Devon put his all into a block, trying to slow Marshall down and, moments later, he was lying on his back, staring at the clear blue September sky, unable to move his legs.

Devon put his all into a block, trying to slow Marshall down and, moments later, he was lying on his back, staring at the clear blue September sky, unable to move his legs.

Tish and Donny had been unable to make the trip to Athens for the game. As they watched from the family’s home in Baton Rouge, The report was that a “Southern player was down on the field.” Tish’s motherly instinct kicked in and she knew Devon was hurt. Getting information about Devon’s status was difficult at first. When a nurse from Athens Regional Hospital finally called, Tish’s only question was “Do I need to be on the next flight to Georgia?” The nurse’s quick response was “Yes, I think so.” As the Gales have continued down this path which God has placed them on, adversities have continued, as well. Their home in Baton Rouge was in an area which flooded only a few months ago. They had previously been struggling with the idea of moving the family to Atlanta. Moving to Georgia would put Devon closer to the care of The Shepherd Spinal Center and the expert care there. The flood, they decided, was another way of God telling them “it was time.” The time has come and this family is being blessed. The community has pulled together to build Devon and his family a new home. Currahee Homes, Paran Homes, WSB Radio took the lead on making this happen. There are some amazing people working on this project. Go over to  to learn more about these amazing people. Sunshine on a Ranney Day, along with our designers at Crosby Design Group, are doing the interior design of Devon’s new home and completing his wheelchair accessible bathroom, bedroom, and in-home therapy room. We are blessed to be just a small part of this very large and heart-felt project!

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Photography by Nicole Photography

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Noah

  • 19 Years Old

  • Spinal Injury

This handsome and adventurous young man is Noah. Exploration of the great outdoors and exhilarating activities fuel Noah’s passion. He lives for adventure and spending almost every waking moment outdoors. While some teens enjoy playing video games for hours on end, Noah prefers to keep his eyes on the sky and feet off the ground. As a young teenager, he spent most of his time pedaling his bike over mountain trails, flipping off boulders into a lake, diving, snowboarding or wakeboarding. He and his friends shared many escapades at skate parks and trampoline parks where he excelled at skilled tricks and flips. His favorite organized sport is baseball and he played in several levels throughout the years, including recreational ball, All-Stars and Travel ball. He even achieved his ultimate goal: playing at Dreams Park in Cooperstown, NY. On July 26 of 2017, everything changed within a split second. Noah was in an accident that altered his future tremendously. He had gone with two of his friends to their favorite trampoline park. They were jumping for most of the afternoon, doing their usual flips and tricks. Noah was working on perfecting a flip when he under-rotated and landed on his neck. This harsh landing ended up compressing his spinal cord and fracturing three vertebrae. Instantly, he lost all feeling from his chest down. His arms and hands went limp and he felt the sensation of being outside of his body. He was rushed to the hospital via ambulance and endured a significant live saving surgery. In this invasive procedure, two rods were inserted to re-align his spinal cord and eleven screws attached the vertebrae to those rods.

Upon his homecoming, Noah faced a new set of challenges as his home was not adequately designed for living with a wheelchair.

Fortunately, the spinal cord was not severed, but he sustained spinal cord injury that left him a quadriplegic. He spent two weeks in ICU and then transferred to an intensive inpatient therapy program for nine weeks. He worked diligently in physical therapy several hours per day to regain motor skills and relearn how to do everyday tasks that previously happened automatically. After inpatient rehab, he spent six weeks in a specialized outpatient therapy program where they continued to target skills that seem so simple. The skills we all take for granted, like rolling over. Through determination and hard work, Noah found himself becoming stronger, regaining sensation and learning how to live life after his injury. He and his therapists worked on getting dressed, bathing and completing school work. He also learned to mobilize via a wheelchair. This was quite different than what he was used to. Upon his homecoming, Noah faced a new set of challenges as his home was not adequately designed for living with a wheelchair. The home’s floor plan included narrow doorways and neither a bathroom nor a bedroom on the ground floor. He only had access to two rooms in the house and the formal living room had to become his bedroom. In addition, he was forced to take showers at the local YMCA since there was an accessible shower there. After four months of the day program with outpatient therapy, it was time for Noah to return to school. Since Noah was injured right before his senior year of high school, he missed the entire first semester while he was working to recover. In order to graduate with the rest of his classmates, he doubled up on work and completed the entire year’s curriculum in one semester. To top that off, he graduated with all A’s and B’s. Noah’s hard work and never give-up attitude has paid dividends in academics and rehabilitation. He has regained so much movement that as he has regained substantial movement and feeling below the point of injury that his condition is no longer classified as a complete injury. Noah continues today to work toward reaching his goals. This year, Noah’s sights are set on college. His ambition is to study audio and video technology. Although he previously biked down mountains, he is currently learning to maneuver his wheelchair on the rugby court as a member of the Shepherd Smash team at Shepherd Rehabilitation Center. Noah is determined to enjoy many more adventures despite his injury and refuses to allow the challenges he faces to get in the way of his dreams. He faces life with gratefulness and a reverence for those who have shown him an outpouring of love. He is especially thankful that Sunshine on a Ranney Day will be renovating his bathroom and bedroom to allow his greater independence and mobility. Please join us in bringing a little sunshine to Noah’s life by supporting this project and coming to the great reveal party!

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Photography by Nicole Photography

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Bristol

  • 5 Years Old

  • Leukemia

Howdy! This is Bristol, a steadfast warrior who has earned the title, “Bristol the Pistol” due to his perpetual triumphs and incessant desire to live life to the fullest no matter what obstacles come his way! His battle began in 2015 as a rambunctious toddler who began to experience vague symptoms that made his pediatrician suspicious. After a few rounds of testing, his parents were given the news that no parent ever dreams of hearing. Bristol had cancer. B Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) to be exact. This rare type of cancer that was once not thought of, has become a common term in Bristol’s home. Aggressive treatment began immediately and he had the love and support of friends and family with him from the start. He has now endured 38 months of treacherous treatment that is never easy for a child to endure. Chemotherapy, blood work, spinal taps and never-ending physician visits. However, Bristol takes on every challenge with a can-do attitude and that positivity and vigor is what has kept him overcoming. During this process, Bristol was also given the diagnosis of Muscular Dystrophy. The addition of this diagnosis has not slowed him down. His spunky personality is what gets his through and gives others the desire to help him heal. Bristol is a true fighter who has proven that a country boy can survive. He loves riding horses, John Deere tractors and enjoying all that the great outdoors have to offer including fishing, hunting and camping. A hat and cowboy boots have always been part of his favorite attire. A spectacular dream bedroom makeover is just what the doctor ordered to keep him smiling ear to ear!

He has now endured 38 months of treacherous treatment that is never easy for a child to endure. Chemotherapy, blood work, spinal taps and never-ending physician visits.

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Photography by Laurie Christine Photography

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Photography by Birchfield Photography
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Eli

  • 9 Years Old
  • Neuro-Degenerative Disease

Meet Eli. This little angel is nine years old and brings joy and hope to all who know him. Eli was born following normal pregnancy with no complications. He was a healthy, perfect baby boy and developed normally. He hit all his milestones quickly and thrived. The tiny bundle of joy grew into a teetering active toddler. Surprisingly, at 18 months old he had a seizure while sitting on their bed. The doctors brushed it off, stating that many children will have at least one seizure as they develop. Unfortunately, the next seizure occurred the very next month and they persisted daily. Doctors tried medication after medication, and even a surgery, but to no avail. They gave Eli a diagnosis of Epilepsy, but it did not seem to adequately explain why he also experienced significant regression in his developmental skills. After a battery of multiple assessments, the heartbreaking realization that something more serious was going on. Eli has a rare genetic disease called Tay-Sachs. Tay-Sachs is a hereditary neuro-degenerative disease. It is a build-up of fatty acid on the brain which causes sections of the brain to become deprived of all functions. A person with Tay-Sachs slowly loses functional abilities including walking, eating, hearing and vision. His family is cherishing every single moment they get to spend with him. Eli just celebrated his 9th birthday. Sunshine on Ranney Day aims to help make Eli’s days a little brighter by giving a concrete carport area for their van to park to help the family get him in and out of his home easily.

A person with Tay-Sachs slowly loses functional abilities including walking, eating, hearing and vision. His family is cherishing every single moment they get to spend with him.

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Photography by Kristi Weaver Photography
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Gabrielle

  • 14 Years Old

  • Muscular Spasticity

Gabrielle is a beautiful young teenager that is resilient, brave, determined, vibrant, feisty, and loving. She is full of personality and is a social butterfly. She keeps people laughing. Her contagious smile symbolizes her victories over many challenges in her life. Gabrielle means “God is my strength.” Her name exemplifies how, with God’s power and resources, she has triumphed over surgeries, academic demands, physical opposition, and personal challenges. Her parents were told by doctors that she may never walk, talk or do anything. She certainly proved them wrong. Gabrielle’s story began with her being diagnosed with Schizencephaly at six months old. She has Muscular Spasticity in her arms, hands, legs and feet. Her left side, arm and leg have minimal movement.

She is unable to walk and utilizes her power wheelchair for mobility and requires assistance in transitioning activities.

She is unable to walk and utilizes her power wheelchair for mobility and requires assistance in transitioning activities. Her right side is more flexible and allows her the ability to move for feeding herself and other activities such as writing or typing on the computer. Gabrielle’s story continues with highlights of her growing from glory to glory. She is experiencing the teenage years just as she should, having fun and reaching for great goals. Gabrielle enjoys computers, editing YouTube videos and basketball. She wants to become a video editor. She loves music, dancing and playing with her best friend and cousin, William. Her favorite PS4 games are Fortnite and NBA19. Sunshine on a Ranney Day was so excited to be able to give Gabrielle a life changing wheelchair accessible bathroom and dream bedroom makeover! This will not only help Gabrielle, but will majorly help her parents so they don’t have to lift her as much! We love our job!
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Photography by Niki Murphy Photography

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Photography by Niki Murphy Photography
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Caliyah

  • 4 Years Old
  • Grease Fire Burn Victim

This radiant beauty is Caliyah. She received the bedroom makeover of her dreams. Caliyah a is spirited and poised four-year old. She loves the splendor of glitz and glamour. He favorite things to do include dressing up, doing her make-up, watching You Tube tutorials for applying make-up and of course, magical unicorns with sparkling horns. In her spare time, she enjoys producing videos of her own and she is quite the star. She certainly shines bright and loves to inspire others. Her sweet nature and perseverance are moving indeed. This year, Caliyah experienced a horrific tragedy that changed her life forever. She was severely burned in a grease fire that started in the kitchen. She suffered third degree burns on her face and arms. The pain she suffered was so tremendous that doctors put her into a medically induced coma. She spent a month receiving intensive care in the hospital followed by rigorous physical therapy.

Sunshine on a Ranney Day gave her the glamorous bedroom makeover of her dreams! It promises to be as beautiful as she is!

She missed her preschool graduation ceremony since she was hospitalized, but the school and hospital joined forces to bring a special graduation ceremony of her own right to her room. Being able to enjoy the rite of passage of graduating preschool really lifted her spirits. Although Caliyah is making great progress, she has a long road of recovery ahead of her. Her scars are still healing and she is not able to go in direct sunlight. Sunshine on a Ranney Day gave her the glamorous bedroom makeover of her dreams! It promises to be as beautiful as she is!

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Photography by Niki Murphy Photography

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Photography by Niki Murphy Photography
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Abby

  • 7 Years Old
  • Autism

This brilliantly blue-eyed little peanut is Abby. She is as active as she is adorable. As you can see, her smile is contagious and she is quite lovable. Abby was the first recipient for 2019 of a dream therapy room makeover from Sunshine on a Ranney Day. At fifteen months of age, Abby was diagnosed with a congenital neurological brain defect called Partial Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum. This defect impedes the left and right hemispheres of the brain from connecting properly and results in significant developmental delays or disabilities. One year later, Abby was also diagnosed with severe autism. As a result, Abby has significant developmental and intellectual delays. She is seven years old and goes to a specialized program in the public school system specifically designed for severely delayed kids like her. They provide a self-contained classroom as well as occupational and speech therapy. For Abby, learning new things takes more time. She is non-verbal and still in diapers, but extremely ambulatory! She is always on the go and this adventurous little girl will climb absolutely anything. She is constantly on a mission and creates mountains of furniture to climb and explore. She loves to spin around on the floor, swing on her swing set, jump on trampolines and run everywhere!

At fifteen months of age, Abby was diagnosed with a congenital neurological brain defect called Partial Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum. This defect impedes the left and right hemispheres of the brain from connecting properly and results in significant developmental delays or disabilities.

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Photography by Niki Murphy Photography

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Photography by Niki Murphy Photography

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Photography by Niki Murphy Photography

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Jocelyn

  • 4 Years Old

  • Retinoblastoma in right eye

This precious girl with the sweet smile and darling little curls is Jocelyn. On her third birthday, her parents noticed what appeared to be a glare in her right eye. They thought maybe they were imagining it, but both saw it and knew they needed to get her to the pediatrician. The pediatrician referred them to The Thomas Eye Group for a comprehensive examination. They were quickly told that there were atypical cells in her eye and that she needed to see a specialist right away. After seeing the specialist, they were told she had a mass in her eye. They referred her to Dr. Hubbard who is well known for retinal care. After this third examination, they finally had a diagnosis; retinoblastoma. Cancer. This diagnosis was devastating to say the least. They also found that she had a tumor on her pineal gland and one large tumor with severe seeding within the soft tissue of her eye. Heartbroken and scared, her parents sought for answers as to what would come next. What would the treatment plan be? Would they have to remove her eye? After much consideration, they decided to fight the battle to try to save her eye. The plan was six months of chemo therapy through a port. She endured chemo treatments twice per month as well as eye exams under anesthesia. Chemo therapy was tough on her petite body. Not only did she lose her hair, but also her energy and the joys of childhood. The treatment was working. They found that the cancer was controlled and the tumor on the pineal gland was shrinking.

Chemo therapy was tough on her petite body. Not only did she lose her hair, but also her energy and the joys of childhood.

However, within two short months it returned and was more aggressive. Dr. Hubbard decided that she needed intra-arterial chemo. They placed Jocelyn under anesthesia again for this procedure that placed a small tube through her thigh, up through her heart to right behind her eye. This allowed for the chemo to be delivered directly to her eye via her own blood flow. Due to an adverse reaction that only happens in 0.01% of kids, Jocelyn lost her vision and her eye swelled significantly. This swelling lasted four months and they were unsure of what the course of action would be. It only took one month for the cancer to return and it spread rapidly. The new plan of treatment was injections of chemo directly into the eye while she was under anesthesia. At first it worked, but after only three treatments they found numerous tiny tumors referred to as seeds were spreading throughout her eye. The doctor reported that it was so severe that it could possibly spread to other parts of the body. The most significant concern was that it could eventually spread to the brain via the optic nerve. They continued to fight to save her eye with laser treatments and cryotherapy, but ultimately to save her life and spare her from losing vision in her left eye, they decided it was time to remove the eye itself. This decision was the most difficult of all. Knowing that this could affect her confidence later in life, they struggled with the thought of her living a fulfilled life without her right eye. They imagined her on her prom night wondering why she had to endure this. However, they quickly concluded that she already lost her vision and was at risk of losing her life. The wisest decision was to remove the eye to save her life. They fought hard to try to save the eye and attempted every available option; but, saving her beautifully cherished life was the only choice in the end. As they look toward a bright future, they look forward to her prom night where she will shine radiantly; and, they can bask in the greatness of all of the wonderful moments they share. Not only did they celebrate Jocelyn and her dream bedroom makeover, her reveal was on Veterans Day (observed) 2018. Jocelyn’s father is a proud soldier in the United States Marine Corps. From Jocelyn’s dad: “I am currently a Gunnery Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps. I’ve served in the reserves for 18.5 years. During this time my greatest honor has been able to serve with the finest Marines a person could hope to serve with. We were never perfect, but we always made an incredible team. I was deployed twice to Iraq. The first time, I withdrew from my college classes and had the privilege to serve with a unit that earned the Presidential Citation award. I was on-the-spot meritorious promoted to Cpl after my first deployment. I was deployed again and fell in with another incredible unit. We always meet mission and improved the area that we were in. We were awarded the Navy Unit Citation. I was awarded a combat meritorious promotion to Staff Sergeant during this time. I have been fortunate enough to serve on many funeral honors in every position; to playing the bugle, firing squad member, squad leader, and flag presenter…It has been a humbling experience to be there when our nation’s heroes are laid to rest for the final time…I’ve also been awarded the Navy and Marine Corps. Commendation Medal for my time while serving in a Supply Chief status and my outstanding performance in carrying out the functions and duties of Logistical Chief at the same time. I have earned a Brown Belt in the Marine Corps. Martial Arts Program (MCMAP). I’ve also earned my sixth award for the Selected Marine Corps. Reserve Medal. During the times of deployment the Global War On Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Two Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Global War On Terrorism Service Medal, Two Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, and Iraq Campaign Medal with two stars was awarded. In addition to these I also have been awarded 4 Certificates of Commendations, 3 Letters of appreciation, and one Meritorious Mast.” Sunshine on a Ranney Day is proud to have designed an amazing dream room makeover specifically for Jocelyn.

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Photography by Dinah Sutton Photography

Photography by Dinah Sutton Photography
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