Photography by Laurie Hucks with Studio 79
We’d like to introduce Raynel. His amazing smile and unique personality touches everyone around him. When you are close to him you can feel his inner strength and passion for living. This precious nine year old is a fighter who never gives up. Raynel was born healthy and was blooming as a happy and spirited preschooler until an upper respiratory infection plagued him at the age of four. This infection came with serious complications including Meningitis, which caused him to slip into a coma for three months. This was terrifying and devastating to his family, but they were confident he would not give up. After months of hope and prayer, Raynel surprised the doctors as he awakened and began his miraculous recovery. Physicians discovered that the complications of Meningitis were so severe, he had become paralyzed and was unable to hear, see or speak.
With the diagnoses of Cerebral Palsy and Hydrocephaly, the road to recovery was going to be challenging. Raynel’s family moved him from Puerto Rico to Atlanta to receive sophisticated medical care and intervention at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. The medical team there was able to help Raynel improve tremendously.
Over the last five years, he has made significant gains through intense physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy. He has had cochlear implants and specialized speech and language intervention teaching him how to communicate through sign-language and learning to speak again. Although his days are filled with extensive medical services, catheterization and therapy, he maintains a positive attitude and strives to be independent. His love for learning and desire to achieve his goals keep him surpassing expectations and make him a role model for others working through challenges. Raynel’s strong character, joyful heart and will for living life to the fullest is inspiring. Not only is he eager to learn, but also to play. He loves playing video games, riding his tricycle, spending time with his friends and cooking with his mom.
As he grows and becomes more independent, the need for adaptions and specialized equipment becomes more crucial. Sunshine on a Ranney Day will be providing Raynel with renovations to make it easier for him to move throughout his home by providing access to the second floor and expanding his room to accommodate his large equipment. We hope you will join us in bringing him some sunshine and illuminating his brilliant smile!