Local Boy Hoping for Dream Trip Through Sunshine Foundation

| July 2, 2020

OIL CITY, Pa. (EYT) – The Sunshine Foundation is currently raising money to give an Oil City boy with serious medical conditions his dream trip to Disney World.

April Rowland and her husband Darrin adopted Braxton when he was just a year and a half old. They knew from the beginning that he wasn’t like other children.

“We knew he had some medical issues when he came to us, but that didn’t matter,” April told exploreVenango.com.

They were aware he had suffered abuse in utero and had some resulting medical issues, but the full extent of those issues hadn’t yet been diagnosed. Thus, years of specialist appointments began – from ophthalmology and genetics to hearing and cardiology.

“He struggles daily, but this kid….This kid is awesome,” April said.

Braxton, who is now 11 years old, has been diagnosed with a number of issues, some stemming from LEOPARD Syndrome, including cardiomyopathy, which is is a disease of the heart muscle that can make it harder for a person’s heart to pump blood to the rest of the body; dystonia, a movement disorder in which a person’s muscles contract uncontrollably; and hypotonia, which is decreased muscle tone.

According to National Institute of Health, LEOPARD Syndrome is an inherited condition characterized by abnormalities of the skin, heart, inner ears, and genitalia. The acronym LEOPARD is made up of letters from the medical terms for the features of the syndrome, which include Lentigines, or dark spots on the skin; Electrocardiographic conduction defects, which are abnormalities of the electrical activity of the heart; Ocular Hypertelorism, or widely spaced eyes; Pulmonary stenosis, which is obstruction of the normal outflow of blood from the right ventricle of the heart; Abnormalities of the genitalia; Retarded (slowed) growth resulting in short stature; and Deafness.

In addition to Braxton’s multiple medical conditions, he has recently been diagnosed with ADD, April noted.

“When he was little, we were told he would probably be deaf and would never walk,” April explained.

Nevertheless, Braxton has defied many of those early predictions.

“He’s doing really well now,” April added.

“He still sees the cardiologist once a year, but after switching to cyber school, he finished fifth grade with A’s and B’s.”

He is in the “high to normal” end of the spectrum for his muscular issues and has no loss of hearing at the moment. However, he will most likely require heart surgery at some point in the future, according to April.

The ongoing struggles with his health were what led one of Braxton’s doctors to suggest applying to the Sunshine Foundation. The foundation offers an opportunity for medically fragile and abused children to plan and fund a special dream.

The family applied for the program, seeking Braxton’s Dream of a trip to Disney World, and were approved.

While Braxton is the main focus of the trip, April noted that his three adopted siblings will also benefit from it, which includes his older biological sister. She also suffered abuse at a young age.

However, one last thing must be accomplished to bring Braxton’s dream to life.

The Sunshine Foundation gives donors, families, friends, and Sunshine Ambassadors the opportunity to raise money for each child’s dream, and Braxton’s family still needs more donors to reach their $5,000.00 goal.

“We’ve been approved, but now it’s just about raising the money,” Rowland noted.

Donations to Braxton’s Dream can be made via the Sunshine Foundation website at adoptadream.org/campaigns/braxton/.


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Category: Community, Local News, News