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Hearts for rehabs

LIFESTYLE | Atlanta-area nonprofit serves children with disabilities

Brianna Landers (seated) is ushered into her remodeled living space. Niki Murphy Photography / Sunshine on a Ranney Day

Hearts for rehabs
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When Scott and Rebekah Landers adopted Brianna, a 4-day-old infant, in 2004, they had no idea the challenges that lay ahead. They knew Brianna weighed less than 7 pounds and had some minor health problems: Her biological mother’s placenta had ruptured before birth. But when she was only a few months old, Brianna developed cerebral palsy and epilepsy. One doctor predicted the girl would never see her first Christmas.

Almost 19 years later, Brianna (also known as “Breezy”) is a high school junior in Winder, Ga., with a bright grin and love for music, specifically a song whose lyrics go, “Let me tell you ’bout my Jesus.”

Until last year, Brianna slept on a hospital bed in the Landerses’ living room, since the bed would not fit through her bedroom door. Because she weighs 88 pounds and depends on a wheelchair, “I was getting kind of nervous about picking her up,” said Scott.

So, two years ago, the Landers family applied for a renovation with Sunshine on a Ranney Day, a nonprofit in Roswell, Ga., started by Peter and Holly Ranney. The organization provides bedroom and bathroom makeovers for children with disabilities. Because of Sunshine on a Ranney Day, children like Brianna can live comfortably despite severe infirmities.

Hudson is introduced to his dream bedroom and therapy room.

Hudson is introduced to his dream bedroom and therapy room. Vicki Alsup Photography/Sunshine on a Ranney Day

With design input from Brianna’s family, the Ranneys’ team designed a pink-and-white dream bedroom and bathroom for her last June, complete with a TV and accessible shower. One of the Ranneys’ project managers even brought Brianna a golden retriever puppy.

“We don’t believe anything happens without the Lord,” Scott Landers said. “I think with Brianna, it’s made us draw even closer to Him.”

Back in 2012, Peter Ranney worked in construction, and his wife Holly was a purchasing agent for Rooms To Go, a furniture store chain. A church sermon convicted the couple about using their expertise in a new way, and they felt God calling them to ­minister to kids with disabilities.

“You just kind of go by your gut feeling,” said Holly. “If doors are opening, then it’s the right thing to do.”

Nichole told the doctor, ‘You don’t know my God.’

One of their first big projects: a 2013 ­renovation of the home of Tripp Halstead, a toddler paralyzed by a falling tree during Hurricane Sandy. The Ranneys livestreamed the reveal for nearly 300,000 viewers, and Kids ‘R’ Kids gave the Ranneys a $50,000 check. “That made us realize that this was something bigger than just a hobby,” said Holly.

Since starting their nonprofit, the Ranneys have completed over 160 bedroom makeovers. Children ages 4 to 21 can be nominated for makeovers if they live within a 60-mile radius of Roswell. According to Holly, they receive hundreds of applications yearly, and it’s tough to narrow the list down to their yearly cap of 25 renovations. The Ranneys rely on donor support and partner with various local businesses. Mohawk Flooring provides all the floors, and Rooms To Go supplies furniture. The Ranneys have their own furniture store, and 100 percent of ­proceeds go to their nonprofit.

Sometimes, children get bedrooms made to look like an enchanted forest or a princess’s castle. Some get slides or basketball hoops. Other makeovers include therapy rooms—like the one for 5-year-old Hudson Carver.

Cyrus, another room makeover recipient, and his family react to his remodeled space.

Cyrus, another room makeover recipient, and his family react to his remodeled space. Pear Tree Photography/Sunshine on a Ranney Day

At 9 months old, Hudson was diagnosed with Gaucher disease, a rare genetic disorder that prevents a person’s body from flushing out toxins that build up in the liver and spleen. According to his mother, Nichole, there was one geneticist in Georgia who could treat him, but the physician recommended putting Hudson on hospice. Nichole told the doctor, “You don’t know my God.” The family instead found a geneticist in Washington, D.C., who has treated Hudson ever since. “It has been a challenge through and through,” said Nichole. “But God never promised us an easy life.”

After Hudson had a 27-day hospital stay in December 2021, the Carvers applied to Sunshine on a Ranney Day. Their renovation was completed in March of this year, and Hudson, who had slept in his parents’ room since infancy, now has his own Georgia Bulldogs–themed bedroom. He also has a remodeled therapy room that includes a mini ball pit and climbing wall, allowing therapists to work with Hudson in-house.

Earlier this year, Hudson received a new diagnosis. “It’s not good,” said Nichole. At the same time, the Carvers are thankful for the therapy room, and they’re hopeful God will continue to work. “I want Him to make sure Hudson’s living his best life,” said Nichole. “We’re all enjoying the space together as a family. That’s great not only for Hudson but all of us.”

Bekah McCallum

Bekah is a reviewer, reporter, and editorial assistant at WORLD. She is a graduate of World Journalism Institute and Anderson University.


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