What Could Be More Fun Than a Fabulous Sweet Sixteen Party?

Raneisha at her sixteenth birthday party.
Raneisha’s Sweet Sixteen birthday party was a joyous celebration held at her home -- a pediatric nursing home.
Her mother dressed her in a formal gown and guests danced to lively music in a conference room transformed into a fairyland. Her peers, family members, and the “amazing” staff that cares for Raneisha at New England Pediatric Care dressed up and brought spouses and children to share the cake and special day. Why?
“Our family went from tragedy to treasure nine years ago when Raneisha went to NEPC,” said Rodney, her dad. “The people there have become like family to us. They make us feel like we are part of a special club, rather than parents of a child whose future was suddenly taken away. We wanted these special people to join in.”
Raneisha and her mother Angela were struck by a hit and run driver as they walked to school one rainy morning in 2006. At first it was uncertain if the seven year old would live, but three months later doctors discharged her with severe and permanent brain damage. Rodney believes she has thrived because of the medical attention and loving care she receives at NEPC, a skilled nursing home for children who require complex medical care.
“Raneisha is always smiling and happy, and we are grateful for that,” he said. “At first we were there every day, because Raneisha can’t do anything for herself and we couldn’t imagine anyone would care about her as much as we do.”
Then they realized that the staff was keenly attuned to her needs and truly adored her. She wouldn’t be alone when her family couldn’t be there. The NEPC team also provided encouragement and support to help Rodney and Angela put their lives back in order after the tragedy.
So on a Saturday night in March Rodney swapped his civil engineer hat for his professional DJ cap and put on a party like no other NEPC had ever seen.
“Raneisha has been through so much, she deserved the best celebration possible, and what could be better than being with those who love you most,” he said.
“At the end I asked her are you happy? To my surprise she put on a sassy face and responded ‘no.’ I asked what will make you happy? Smiling, she said CAKE! She cracked us all up.”
New England Pediatric Care is affiliated with the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center. Visit www.nepc.org for additional information.