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Disabled girl gives hope to all

High school honor roll student Hannah Bradberry, 21, needs a new van. Not just any van ‘“ Hannah has cerebral palsy, so she needs one that is handicap equipped. ”We’re going to drive to Disney World,” said Hannah. “I love Mickey Mouse. The last time I went I was 7 or 8.” On that trip, she was taken backstage at one of the shows where the actors made a fuss over her. Known as “Horrible Hannah” when she was born, she weighed only 1 pound, 12 ounces. She had arrived 11 weeks early. ”Bets could hold me in the palm of her hand, almost,” said Hannah, referring to her grandmother. She lives with her grandparents Wesley and Betty Wilson of Milner. Her mother, the late Gaye Wilson Bradberry, had a rare form of toxemia that caused the early birth. Hannah bounced back with a vengeance from her inauspicious beginning and everyone thought she was doing extremely well. Then her cerebral palsy was discovered. When she was 6, Gaye was diagnosed with cancer; she died when Hannah was 8. ”The motor skills part of Hannah’s brain was affected; she’s a spastic quadriplegic,” said Betty Wilson. “Mentally she’s fine ‘“  she aced the high school writing test ‘“ but it’s a big disability. She can’t do anything for herself but she’s a real trooper. There’s nothing short about her.” In addition to one more year of high school, Hannah has another year at Hope House, a ministry for children with disabilities where she gets physical therapy. When she graduates, her therapy through the schools will also end. The Wilsons pay for her massages every three weeks. ”Life has been good,” said Wilson. “There’s a love you don’t find with the average child. It’s special. She’s a blessing who makes our lives complete. She has such a sweet spirit.” To help with the costs of a van, Susie Martin is organizing a spaghetti supper at Antioch Baptist Church Friday, May 8, from 5-7:30 p.m. The cost is $6 per ticket. ”I knew her mother Gaye,” said Martin. “I also had a child with cerebral palsy and she was the first person I knew who had one, too. She touched my life before she passed. Hannah has always been special to me. She’s taught me so much more than I could learn anywhere else.” Martin takes Hannah and other children to see Christmas lights; last Christmas she drove the Wilsons’ van. ”It’s on its last legs,” she said. “The cost for a handicap van is enormous. There’s no assistance anywhere to help with these vans.” In addition to caring for Hannah ‘“ a full time job ‘“  the Wilsons are retired, work part time and serve the community. Betty is a Milner city council member and Wesley heads up the county water authority. Hannah enjoys watching TV and one of her favorite shows is Extreme Makeovers (she also likes Little People, Big World). ”That got me to thinking,” said Martin. “The community can help in a small way to assist them. The spaghetti supper is something our church could do.” Hannah and her grandparents attend Rock Springs Church but “she has lots of aunts and uncles at Antioch,” Martin said. “Sarah and Jimmy Hearn are the backbone of this benefit.” The Hearns are some of those aunts and uncles. Her father is Greg Bradberry; her aunts are Linda Walker and Joyce Waller, who Wilson calls “the sisters who pulled us through when Gaye died.” ”I thank everybody who’s working to get me a van,” said Hannah. Hannah loves to sing ‘“  she knows many songs by heart ‘“ and plans to sing at the benefit. She has not decided what she will sing, though she is leaning toward one of the many hymns she knows. ”I sang Rascal Flats at school and everybody cried,” she said. “I don’t think I’ll sing that one.” Donations are also being accepted at United Bank via the Susie Martin for Hannah account. For information call Martin at 770-358-7349.

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