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Nonprofit unveils renovations for family of boy with seizure disorders
Changes include therapy room and wheelchair-accessible bathroom
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Friends and neighbors applaud when the Harrisons arrive Saturday at their newly renovated home in Gainesville. - photo by David Barnes

Though separated by a newly renovated bathroom, Katie Harrison can still keep a watchful eye on her 4-year-old Hawk as he works on walking on his own.

The Harrisons’ new home setup includes an in-house therapy room and a wheelchair-accessible bathroom, which separates Hawk’s and his mother’s bedrooms. The work was managed by Sunshine on a Ranney Day, a nonprofit working with sponsors to create home makeovers for children facing long-term illnesses.

“Where we are now it’s just been four years of collecting things and putting them wherever we can find a spot, but now to have a dedicated spot for that is so much more functional,” Katie Harrison said.

Hawk suffered a massive brain hemorrhage when he was three weeks old, which has led to multiple brain surgeries and several seizure disorders.

The therapy room unveiled Saturday has a therapy bench, platform swing and other equipment for Hawk’s ongoing goal of independence.

“For Hawk, we want him to be able to thrive. We want him to be able to start walking, which he’s quickly doing,” said Robin Loose, Sunshine on a Ranney Day’s project coordinator. “But in order to do that, he’s got to get help with his core muscles that really aren’t there and we take for granted.”

The rooms have a nautical theme with an assortment of animal decor, including the organization’s mascot, a pig.

The unveiling was “overwhelming” for Katie Harrison, who had Hawk at her hip for most of the day.

“I feel like I still haven’t really taken it in or seen the space, because it’s so much,” she said.

Her favorite part of the new design is Hawk’s own bedroom, where she can still “feel like he’s safe but still independent now,” she said.

The family is now in the process of renewing its medical cards for cannabis oil, a treatment shown to help with the seizure disorders and has low levels of the psychoactive THC ingredient that creates a “high.”

Loose said two bathrooms were combined into one in the five-week construction process costing around $35,000.

“I know at the end of the day ... that I’m helping a family’s life just be a little bit easier, things that we take for granted every single day,” Loose said.


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