9Two things will tell you when a certain vibrant 7-year-old is about to sprint full force toward the ball pit in Heartspring’s therapy gym. First, her eyes scream determination. Second, her smile beams with mischief. And before anyone can stop her, Braelynn is smack-dab in the middle of a colorful mess of plastic balls. And while her therapist works to get her back on task, Braelynn’s mom, Gentry, looks on from outside the hallway window. For Gentry, Braelynn’s boldness and energy isn’t something to take for granted, because there was a time when she didn’t know if Braelynn would even be able to walk.Gentry and her husband, Matthew, became parents at a young age. At the time, Matthew was also on the verge of leaving for Navy boot camp. Seven months into the pregnancy, doctors noticed that their baby’s growth was behind. She seemed very small, especially her head size. At birth, Braelynn weighed a mere three pounds and 14.5 ounces. Uncertain of why, doctors in the family’s hometown of Dodge City made the decision to fly her to Wichita’s Wesley Medical Center for tests. “Then, we received news that no parent should ever have to hear. We were told that our daughter had no peaks and valleys in her brain—that she had Lissencephaly,” Gentry said.According to the National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc., Lissencephaly indicates an abnormally smooth brain. It is also characterized by a smaller head circumference. The doctor said she would never walk, talk or hear.“My husband, with tears in his eyes, asked the doctor to give him one piece of hope. And the doctor said he couldn’t,” Gentry continued.Shortly after Braelynn’s birth, Matthew left for the Navy. And Gentry faced a difficult, unclear road ahead.SEARCHING FOR Hope.“HEARTSPRING HAS GIVEN US HOPE FOR BRAELYNN. I Finally Feel like she is where she needs to be.” GENTRY, BRAELYNN’S MOM<<HOPE, continued on page 17 (Left) Braelynn practices climbing stairs during her session with Physical Therapist Cheryl Jabara.9
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