This adorable eight year-old boy is going to be getting an incredible dream makeover! His name is Samuel. He is an inspiration to many and transforms the hearts of all who encounter him. He has an amazing way with people and every time they see his bright smile and bold determination, they forget about their own worlds of troubles and challenges and are instantly illuminated with delight.
Samuel and his twin brother Wesley were both born prematurely at 25 weeks on January 25, 2011. Both boys weighed just over one pound. The fact that they both survived is a miracle. They stayed in the Kennestone Hospital NICU for three months. Though very sick, Wesley made it through the ordeal with no lasting physical challenges. Samuel, however, suffered from a Grade IV intraventricular hemorrhage at five days old. This led quickly to hydrocephalus, the placement of a shunt, and the diagnosis of cerebral palsy. Right before his 4th birthday, Samuel aspirated on some food during his first seizure. He was life-flighted to Scottish Rite (CHOA) Hospital. He recovered, but after several more seizures immediately following this episode, epilepsy was added to his list of diagnoses. In August 2016, Samuel underwent his first shunt revision and in April 2017, he suffered from a subdural hematoma, which led to an additional surgery and a shunt placed in the left side of his head to drain the excess fluid.
Due to his challenges with cerebral palsy and balance deficits, Samuel is unable walk independently. He uses a Kaye Reverse walker, a gait belt, or a Lofstrand crutch for mobility. He also wears AFO's on both feet and has significant weakness in his right hand. Samuel has put in hundreds of hours working through physical therapy, occupational therapy, therapeutic horseback riding, and a one-on-one gymnastics class for conditioning and strengthening. Every little success is a milestone for him and he has made huge stride over the past several years. After enormous amounts of hard work and dedication, Samuel can stand for minutes at a time, walk across the therapy gym without falling and catch a volleyball. These feats drive him to work harder and keep sight of his goals and dreams.
In spite of his physical challenges, Samuel is like any other 8 year-old boy with a hearty sense of humor, zest for mischief, a wealth of good jokes, an obsession with motorcycles and a never-ending supply of giggles when his dog bathes his ears with kisses. His ultimate goal is to ride a motorcycle one day and he is surely going to accomplish that goal.
The relationship between Samuel and his brother Wesley is a beautiful and unique one. Wesley lovingly stands by him in every endeavor and cheers him on. Samuel yearns to be as independent as his brother and therefore eagerly works toward mastering new skills. They celebrate every victory together and no triumph is small.
Sunshine on a Ranney Day will be celebrating all of Samuel’s conquests through the provision of a stunning new therapy room! We look forward to watching him light up the room as his radiant smiles and contagious giggles fill the renovated space! We hope that you will join us at the big reveal!