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    Rylee was born with Cerebral Palsy on November 1, 2007, one month before her Dad left for Iraq to serve our country in the Iraqi Freedom War. Rylee was also diagnosed with Brain Migration Defect, in which neurons fail to migrate appropriately from their origin to the brain cortex during fetal development due to her mother’s drug addiction during pregnancy. She could not sit up, crawl, use her left hand, had gestural problems, and her outside orbital eye socket muscles did not develop properly causing her to be cross-eyed. Rylee was prescribed leg braces and glasses at 2 years of age and has been refitted and wearing braces and glasses since then.

     She has a little brother that was born September 3, 2009, who is 5 now and shows signs of slight Autism. My wife and I, as grandparents, have had the children since Rylee was 2 and her brother was 6 months old.
 
     After seeing many doctors and specialists, and having brain scans which showed that parts of her brain never developed, meaning there is void space in her cranium, the doctors had different opinions of treatments and surgeries, and they all agreed that if she is not walking by the age of 5 she will be in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. We did not give up or accept that outcome.

    Finally, we were referred to a surgeon who had another approach to surgery on her legs. In the last five years she has had 4 surgeries to her eyes and 4 surgeries to her upper thighs and Achilles tendons to loosen up her tendons in her thighs and to be able to bend her feet to a 90 degree angle. Rylee has been going to therapy twice a week for the last 5 years in addition to my wife working with her every day. With great struggles, Rylee is using a walker for a few minutes a day now at home. Rylee will always be in therapy and leg braces and continue to have surgeries at every growth spurt or every 18 months.
 
     There is so much more to our Rylee, it would fill a book. She is special to be with and is loving beyond comparison.   She has been a great inspiration and a true blessing to our whole family, and although therapy is hard for her and she tires easily, she still strives to complete the task and never gives up. Little things that we take for granted such as walking, balancing, grasping, she has to work hard to accomplish.

     We would like to give thanks and a shout out to all the volunteers and this organization that brings this awareness to society.
 
-  Alan Strickland, Rylee’s Grandfather