Diane and Ronald Davis are thankful for their community helping their daughter, Olivia Davis, who was born with Angelman syndrome.

A Valrico family was shocked by the outpouring of support they received after sharing their daughter’s story with a GoFundMe fundraiser.

Olivia Davis was born with Angelman syndrome, a genetic disorder that impacts her cognitive and motor development. Diane and Ronald Davis, two Buckhorn Elementary teachers, turned to the Valrico community for support as their 13-year-old continues to grow.

“We were just floored that, within minutes of posting it, so many of our friends and colleagues and parents of students that we have had were just on it so fast. We were so humbled and just amazed at the support we got,” said Diane.

Olivia suffers from seizures that often result in her getting stuck in her bed as she sleeps. With Angelman syndrome, she cannot remove her arms or legs if they get stuck, and it is no longer safe for her to sleep in a normal bed.

“She doesn’t have the same ability to pull it in. … She doesn’t have the same instinct to correct that. Her movements are more rigid,” explained Diane.

Olivia’s parents looked into purchasing a SleepSafe bed, a bed made for those with special needs to prevent falls and entrapments. The problem was that their insurance would not cover the cost of the bed Olivia needs.

At the beginning of May, the Davis’s reached their goal on their GoFundMe to purchase the SleepSafe bed for Olivia. They then ordered the bed for their daughter, and it will likely arrive in June.

Diane has continued to teach kindergarten at Buckhorn Elementary School, but her husband has had to take a leave of absence to spend extra time with their daughter. Ronald helps take his daughter to school each morning, since it is difficult for Olivia to ride the school buses in her wheelchair. Olivia is a student at Burns Middle School and is enrolled in its ESE program.

“When you have a child with special needs, everything is a little more difficult, … but we’re thankful that it all worked out,” said Diane.

While they had reached their goal, Diane and Ronald decided to keep the GoFundMe page active to help cover additional expenses insurance will not cover, like getting new wheelchairs as their daughter grows.

“They’ve made it feel like home with all of their support and kindness,” Diane said about the Valrico community. “It’s a really good place to be.”

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Lily Belcher is a writer for The Osprey Observer and Christian Voice Monthly. She started as an intern in the summer of 2020 and has continued to write for the Osprey since completing her internship. Lily plans to attend the University of South Florida and major in Communications while writing for The Oracle.