Earlier this year, Chairiti Rayner became a teenager, but still has many developmental disabilities and other medical ailments that have kept her from truly maturing.
Born in May 2004, Chairiti was diagnosed with Developmental Delay when she was just 6 months old, meaning she was not meeting simple milestones such as rolling over, grasping objects, sitting up or responding to noises or smiles.
At 2 years old, Chairiti was diagnosed with epilepsy. She had her first seizure at her grandparents’ house and had to stay at Sampson Regional Medical Center for three days. She was placed on medication to help control her seizures, but has suffered between 5 and 10 mini-seizures a day, sometimes so severe they caused her to stay at UNC Children’s Hospital.
At 3 years old, further compounding the obstacles facing Chairiti and her family, she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
Now a worker helps her take medication daily and she requires a great deal of special attention, including various diapers, bibs, a wheelchair and special education supplies, family and friends said. Medicaid only pays for her doctor’s appointments and a portion of her medication. Any other supplies have to be paid for out of pocket.
To aid the family, friends are holding a “Love for Chairiti” community dinner from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday (tonight) at Graves Memorial Presbyterian Church to raised money for Chairiti’s needs not paid for by Medicaid.
They will be offering $5 dine-in plates of fried chicken, green beans, coleslaw, a cupcake and choice of tea or soda.
Deanna Weaver, who organized Friday’s fundraiser, said the ultimate goal is to purchase a handicap-accessible van for equipped with a lift chair that will aid Chairiti and her family, notably on their trips to Chapel Hill her regular doctor’s appointments.
The van, which would normally cost $15,000, has been offered for $7,000, Weaver said.
She thanked the many who have come together to help the community dinner come to fruition, and is hoping many will buy plates.
Graves Memorial Presbyterian Church are allowing the use of the fellowship at no charge, and the Gristmill, Hwy 55, Performing Arts School and Suzi Matthews, Williamson Gas, along with many others, have donated time and resources toward the effort.
There will be performers and Lois Denny offered decorations, Weaver said. Still others, including Southern Style, Tim’s Gift, Cheerwine and the Hungry Farmer, have also helped along the way.
“A lot of people have pitched in,” Weaver said.
When planning for a golf tournament fell through, Weaver and others eyed the community dinner as the best way to assist the Rayners.
“I used to help some of her mom’s family,” said Weaver of Shaletia Rayner, Chairiti’s mother. “We’ve done a lot of fundraisers together. They’re really sweet people.”
Weaver previously worked for Sampson Home Health for 16 years, during which time she got to know the Rayners. Chairiti loves being able to visit with Weaver’s daughter Holly, 15.
“She gets real excited and they play together. She’s just as sweet as she can be,” Weaver said of Chairiti. “To have all of the ailments she has, she is just so sweet and such a great disposition. Whenever she sees you, she’ll shake your hand and hug you.”
For more information, call Deanna Weaver at 910-592-3527.
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.