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Brianna

  •  18 Years Old

  • Cerebral Palsy, Brain Damage, Epilepsy

Brianna “Breezy” was born on June 4, 2004.  During birth, Breezy experienced complications causing brain damage and she received a later diagnosis of cerebral palsy and epilepsy.  Breezy continues to defy odds, the doctors did not expect Breezy to live to see her first Christmas and now she is 17 years old!  Breezy has a love for music and being outdoors. She comes from a musically talented family and attends a church that has many different types of instruments.  Breezy enjoys attention and interaction with people from reading a book to simply holding hands. 

“Breezy lights up a room with her beautiful blue eyes and contagious smile.”

Breezy is nonverbal and wheelchair dependent.  Breezy has faced so many challenges throughout her 17 years of life and proves what love, prayer, and faith can do.  Breezy lights up a room with her beautiful blue eyes and contagious smile.  She continues to amaze and capture the hearts of her family, friends, church family, and community.  

Breezy is fully dependent on her family to take care of her everyday needs and an accessible bathroom and bedroom renovation will make life easier for the whole family.

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Photography by Niki Murphy Photography

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Kaitlyn

  •  12 Years Old

  • Cerebral Palsy, Epilepsy

Kaitlyn is a happy and fun-loving 10-year-old girl.  She, unfortunately, lost oxygen during her birth process and experienced seizures shortly after birth.  She had a 16 day NICU stay after birth and experiences many health and gross and fine motor challenges due to her brain injury.  She was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at just 8 months old and has been in weekly speech, physical and occupational therapy since just 6 months old.  She also participates in ABA therapy and intensive robotic therapy.   She is unable to use her physical voice but uses a communication device to communicate.  Kaitlyn uses a power wheelchair in the school and community settings and can walk with the support of a gait trainer in her home. 

“Kaitlyn works so hard to overcome her challenges and puts forth so much effort each and every day”

Despite this multitude of challenges, Kaitlyn lives a happy and fulfilling life.  She loves doing yoga, playing Mario Kart with an adaptive controller, and baking with her family.  She runs races with her Dad in an adaptive jogging stroller and has already completed 2 half marathons.  She loves our family beach trips to Hilton Head Island and she even does yoga on the beach!  What fun!  She is active in her church and participates in church worship and dances up a storm each week.  Kaitlyn works so hard to overcome her challenges and puts forth so much effort each and every day.  

We’re so excited for Kaitlyn to have an accessible space to give her independence and a calm place to relax after those sometimes really tough and overstimulating and overtiring days.  She is already starting to ask about makeup and becoming more interested in fashion so it will be so neat to have a space where she can learn to become more independent as she heads into her teen years soon. 

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Photography by Pear Tree Photography

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Madison

  •  12 Years Old

  • Autism, Dysarthria, Apraxia, SPD

At 24 weeks into my twin pregnancy, I was rushed to the hospital with bleeding and preterm labor. Doctors determined that Madison was showing signs of distress. The neonatologists provided me with stats on viability at 24 weeks and the medical complications that could arise should the twins come this early. Thankfully, I did not go into full labor and Madison’s heart rate returned to normal. However, I continued to experience contractions and the medical team could not determine the source of my bleeding. At the same time, Madison had been diagnosed with intrauterine growth restriction. I remained in the hospital hoping to get the twins to 33 weeks before delivering. 

When the twins were 27 weeks and five days old, and I had been in the hospital on total bedrest for 22 days, the nurses came running in to put me on oxygen. Madison’s heart rate was dropping and did not recover as quickly as they wanted. The doctors determined that for Madison to survive, we would have to deliver the twins via emergency c-section that day.  Madison weighed 1 pound 2 ounces and was only 10 1/2 inches long. She was placed on a ventilator immediately as she was not able to breath on her own. Her brother Joshua weighed 2 pounds 1 ounce, was 14 inches long, and required oxygen support as well.  While in the NICU, Madison received medication several times to close her patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), blood transfusions, and several rounds of antibiotics to fight off infections. She remained on the ventilator for five weeks and after a short course of steroids, she was able to breathe without support. After 75 days in the NICU, Madison came home. Both she and her brother were discharged on oxygen support, which continued for several months thereafter. Since their early arrival, we have seen more doctors, experts, and therapists than I can count. Madison has been diagnosed with Autism, Sensory Processing Disorder, Chronic Lung Disease, and Apraxia among other conditions.

“We often call her Goldilocks because she loves to try every bed in the house until she finds the one that is just right.”

Madison is 12-years old and attends The Link School—a private educational facility that focuses on hands-on learning. She thrives there and enjoys many typical childhood experiences such as pizza and ice cream. She is also an avid hoverboard enthusiast with a passion for Cat in the Hat and Boba Fett. She is a sweet, silly, pink-loving girl. We often call her Goldilocks because she loves to try every bed in the house until she finds the one that is just right. If you ask her what she is doing, she says, “I’m getting cozy.”

Madison survived her birth trauma because of her strength and determination. This little spitfire has defied the odds and she continues to work hard in all that she does. We are so blessed that God chose us to be Joshua and Madison’s parents. And we are grateful to Sunshine on a Raney Day for providing a Madison with a bedroom makeover.

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Photography by Birchfield Photography

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Ethan

  • 17 Years Old

  • Mecp2 Duplication Syndrome

Ethan spent the first seven years of his life without an official diagnosis other than a general diagnosis of mentally disabled.  That changed when Ethan was seven and experienced a seizure where he ultimately ended up at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA).  Fortunately for Ethan, the neurologist at CHOA specialized in what would eventually become Ethan’s diagnosis, Mecp2 Duplication Syndrome or M2DS.  M2DS is a rare genetic condition causing many issues such as severe intellectual disabilities, impaired motor function, spasticity, speech, gastrointestinal, and respiratory issues.

Ethan is able to enjoy life in general, he is still mobile and eats soft foods by mouth.  He has had setbacks over the years but he continuously proves how strong he is time and time again.  Ethan’s mobility has declined over the past few years due to severe seizures.  Ethan’s Sunshine makeover includes a wheelchair-accessible bathroom and wheelchair ramp going into his house to make daily life a little easier for everyone.

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Photography by Marcelino Aguilar Photography

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Reid

  • 7 Years Old

  • Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa

Reid is a somewhat shy seven-year-old boy who was born with Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa; an extremely painful and debilitating genetic skin disease. At birth, Reid was missing large pieces of skin on his back, legs, hands and arms. Kids born with RDEB lack a critical protein that binds our layers of skin together like velcro. Without this protein, Collagen VII, Reid’s skin blisters and tears all over his body, mouth, esophagus, and eyes. What he and others with this severe form of the disease go through is beyond anyone’s comprehension. Reid endures extremely painful daily bandage changes. The severe wounds all over his body must be carefully cleaned and his mother must puncture any blisters to prevent them from spreading. Without the Collagen VII protein, blisters develop from the slightest friction (clothes seams, car seats, daily life) and can get larger because the velcro is not there to stop the spreading. 

“We are so pleased that Sunshine on a Ranney Day has offered to transform our bonus room into a dream bedroom for Reid.”

Despite living with this debilitating condition, Reid enjoys building with Lincoln Logs and riding his plasma bike. He also enjoys the company of his two older siblings, Avery and Barret. Although Reid has a feeding tube, he loves food! Even though eating can be painful, he enjoys small bites of cheese pizza and hotdogs when he doesn’t have any blisters in his mouth or throat. He is homeschooled and loves listening to Christian Hip Hop or watching The Spy Ninjas on YouTube.

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Photography by Pear Tree Photography

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The Cottage School

Founded in 1985

TCS is a school that provides an educational environment for students in grades 4-12 with a wide variety of special needs. In addition to struggling academically, socially, and emotionally many of our students come to us broken in spirit. Our program works on building our students’ self-confidence, self-determination and helping each one of them find their voices. The Cottage School prepares individuals for fulfillment of their true and tremendous potential as confident, productive, and independent adults. The number of families that have shared with us how this program has literally saved their child’s life is innumerable. It is not just a school; it is a community; it is a soft-landing spot and launching pad for our student’s futures; it is a family. As one of our middle school students recently stated…”It is our differences that make us a community…but our similarities that make us a family.”

Cottage School (TCS) is delighted to be partnering with Sunshine on a Ranney Day for the upcoming makeover of our main office lobby area. Two Atlanta area non-profits working together to help support children with special needs…we couldn’t think of a better match! We are especially excited that this new relationship is one that we anticipate will go well beyond this project. Helping those in need in our community for years to come as we refer families respectively between our programs for their specific needs makes this an exceptional collaboration.

“It is our differences that make us a community…but our similarities that make us a family.”

This project is so much more than a “face-lift” for us. The design area is the first stop for our prospective students with their families as they search for that soft-landing spot after struggling in prior environments.This initial meeting can be rather emotional as background information and struggles are discussed. We have dreamt of meeting with these families in a warm, comfortable setting where they immediately feel at home. The work that Sunshine on a Ranney Day is providing us with that and so much more.

In addition to prospective families, all visitors (including community partners, donors, prospective sponsors, fellow educators, begin their visit to The Cottage School in the main lobby area. It is the focal point for our entire campus that also sees an average of 150 students and 40 staff members a day traveling through this space. 

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Anthony Jr. & Lyric

  • 14 & 6 Years Old

  • Quad Cerebal Palsy, Epilepsy, Autism

Anthony Jr. was born on December 15, 2005. He has cerebral palsy and epilepsy caused by brain-damaged experienced during a complicated and difficult birth.  Anthony is non-verbal and wheelchair-dependent.  He is a vibrant child and loves his family.  Anthony enjoys music which is no surprise since he comes from a musical family.  

Despite all of Anthony Jr.’s challenges he can communicate and enjoys a good laugh.  He shows a love for life and what it means to fully live in the moment.  Anthony Jr.’s love for life also keeps his entire family going. 

Lyric, younger brother to Anthony Jr., was born on December 11, 2015. Lyric was diagnosed with autism in 2017.  He is an extremely intelligent little boy and continues to amaze everyone with what he knows.  He enjoys music just like his older brother, Anthony Jr.  Lyric also enjoys being outdoors and interacting with people.  

Lyric faces challenges every day and he works really hard to do his best. He is always the energy in the room that encourages others to be ok in moments of darkness. He is such a loving little boy just like Anthony Jr.  Lyric tries his hardest to help his big brother.  He watches others take care of Anthony Jr. and attempts to mimic their actions. 

Lyric is truly what helps Anthony Jr. continue to smile! Lyric and Anthony Jr. represent brotherly love like no others!

“He is always the energy in the room that encourages others to be ok in moments of darkness.”

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Photography by Vicki Alsup Photography

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Cyrus

  • 15 Years Old

  • Autism

Cyrus was born 15 weeks early and weighed 1 pound 10 ounces.  He spent his first year at Scottish Rite in the NICU with respiratory and gastrointestinal issues, retinopathy of prematurity, and a number of other complications and surgeries.  For the first eight months of Cyrus’ life, he was classified as failure to thrive but Cyrus had other plans.  When Cyrus was released from the hospital he came home with a trach and was on a ventilator 24/7, feeding tube, and diagnosed with cerebral palsy and severe developmental delay.

Cyrus has grown and thrived throughout his almost 7 years of life.  Cyrus is considered medically fragile, legally blind, and continues to battle retinopathy of prematurity.  He can walk independently using adaptive equipment.  He has completed kindergarten and works so hard undergoing multiple therapies; physical, occupational, vision, and speech. 

Cyrus does not place limitations on himself.  Cyrus was not supposed to live but he continues to defy expectations.  Cyrus is non-verbal but that does not stop him from expressing himself.  He is active and strong and is an expert countertop and furniture climber. 

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Photography by Pear Tree Photography

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Kennedy

  • 11 Years Old

  • Cerebal Palsy

Kennedy was born 7 weeks early and diagnosed at 1 with Cerebral Palsy. Kennedy is by far one of the happiest girls you will ever meet, especially considering the challenges that she faces; she has a smile that could light up the darkest of days.  She is remarkably determined and a very intelligent young lady, who happens to be “trapped” inside an uncooperative body.

Kennedy has had multiple surgeries to help with her physical issues in order to make her more comfortable. She has had eye surgery and an extra lung removed when she was a few months old. Her last surgeries were double hip surgery to restructure the hip joints that were in danger of falling out and not being able to be corrected. She was a trooper through this surgery! She then had all the hardware removed last year and has since made a full recovery with her hips.

Regardless of what she encounters, she always has a smile on her face.

She now is able to tolerate more weight and less painful movements where those are concerned. Kennedy scored above average on her school testing and will be going to middle school next year. There are many things that you and I take for granted that she is not able to do for herself…feed herself, use the restroom herself, or wash herself. These are just a few of the basic care needs that require assistance. 

She could let things like this get her down but she doesn’t. She is an amazing young lady! She wants to be an interior designer when she grows up. She loves watching HGTV, and Love IT or List IT is her favorite with Hometown being a close second. She has even come up with using her initials as the name of her business “KJH Interior Designs”.

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Photography by Vicki Alsup Photography

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Alex

  • 17 Years Old

  • Dystonic & Spastic Cerebral Palsy

If you watch a teen boy check himself out in the mirror before he heads out for the day, you may see him inspect carefully, fix details and then give a little nod to himself for a job well done. Alexander is no different. As a 16-year-old boy, he wants more than anything to take good care of himself. Like most teens, he loves music, dancing, and watching movies with his family. Alex lives with dystonic and spastic cerebral palsy. He uses a wheelchair to mobilize himself and a walker for exercise. Alex has intellectual and developmental disabilities, placing his cognitive and emotional maturity around age 10-12.

“An accessible bathroom will alleviate the fear of injury and help the family achieve their goal of facilitating as much independence as possible.”

Alex has grown into his adult body and his emerging maturity has him striving for independence when it comes to bathroom use and personal hygiene. Not only is Alex’s bathroom not conducive to his caring for himself; but, it also is not at all accessible for caregivers to assist. The toilet grab bar is jerry-rigged between the toilet and tub and often comes loose, posing one of many safety issues in his bathroom. A small wall sink was put in to allow the wheelchair to fit, but when Alex leans on it to reach for faucets, it is a great concern that it will pull off the wall.

Alex does not consider personal hygiene a chore; he is eager to take care of himself and takes great pride in his appearance and independence. An accessible bathroom will alleviate the fear of injury and help the family achieve their goal of facilitating as much independence as possible. Everyone looks forward to when Alex can look in his own mirror and give a little nod of self-approval for a job well done.

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