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Groups build therapy room for Gainesville girl
Volunteers work on a therapy room for Gainesville resident Callie Truelove. - photo by Courtesy of Holly Ranney

Sunshine on a Ranney Day and Ride to Give have teamed to give 11-year-old Callie Truelove, born with Williams syndrome, a new therapy room in her family’s Gainesville home.

Doctors didn’t expect Truelove to see her first birthday, her mother Tabitha Truelove said.

“For the most part she’s always happy, she’s always eager to please and wanting everybody to be happy,” she said. “And that’s just Callie. Really, all of the Williams syndrome kids are like that.”

Callie’s condition caused her to have heart troubles, and this year she had her first open-heart surgery. The day of pre-op, Tabitha Truelove received the call from Sunshine on a Ranney Day.

“When she told us about the room makeover in the back of my mind I thought, ‘That would be so sweet,’” Tabitha Truelove said. “Never, ever in a million years would I ever have thought that this would be what it is.”

Sunshine on a Ranney Day’s goal is to renovate the rooms of children with long-term illnesses, co-founder Holly Ranney said. In Callie’s case, they wanted to create a safe space for her to grow.

“With her condition, she has to constantly be supervised. They’re going to have to take care of her for the rest of her life,” Ranney said.

Callie is having two rooms renovated and won’t see the transformation until the reveal on Saturday.

“We’ve locked them out of the rooms that we’ve worked on,” Ranney said. “We finished off their garage, and the top of her room is going to be the therapy safe room. Now it’s going to look like a jungle. She said she wanted a jungle-themed room. We also renovated her bedroom downstairs, and it looks like it’s in the sky with butterflies.”

The funds for this project were mostly raised by Ride to Give, she said, so Sunshine on a Ranney Day could focus on the renovations.

Ride to Give raises money for different causes year-round, but does an annual ride for one special child, Kaete Nazaroff said.

After Ranney contacted Ride to Give about Callie, it started planning a ride and opened a fundraiser page.

“We want to raise as much money as we can, considering my husband is doing this huge ride, and get as many people involved as possible,” Nazaroff said. “We gave ourselves five weeks of fundraising and we were fortunate enough to reach our technical goal before he left. Everything that was raised beyond it while he’s riding is just gravy.”

Her husband, Dave Nazaroff, is a 10-time Ironman and has begun his 900-mile journey from New York to Gainesville. With the ride, Ride to Give has surpassed its $50,000 goal by more than $12,000 and is still accepting donations.

“Everything raised goes to Callie,” Kaete Nazaroff said. “A portion of it goes to Sunshine on Ranney Day for the work that they’ve done and then the rest goes to Callie’s family for her continued therapy and medical expenses that are out of pocket. She still has to have another heart surgery. The cost out of pocket with that, even with the best insurance, is quite a bit. So we want to raise as much money as we can.”

Donations can be made via its website, Facebook page and fundraiser page.

The outpouring of love and support from the community keeps her family going, Tabitha Truelove said.

“My goodness, it means the world,” she said. “This is something that would’ve never, ever, ever been able to happen without Sunshine on a Ranney Day and Ride to Give. Still, every one of us every morning thinks, ‘OK, is this a dream?’”