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She Has a Bubbly, Infectious Smile by Cynthia Underwood for grandaughter Rona Jo.




My name is Cynthia, and I am writing on behalf of my 3 year old granddaughter, Rona Jo Dudley. I take care of her 24/7. Rona's Mommy, my daughter Shawna, is suffering from a degenerative disease called ankylosing spondylitis.


Rona Jo was diagnosed in the womb at 20 weeks and given no chance of survival. She was diagnosed in prenatal testing with several issues, including complications with her heart, lungs, a mass in her abdomen, and she was said to be missing part of her brain (which was found to be inaccurate through a fetal MRI).


Most of these issues were not present at birth. My daughter Shawna was given the choice to terminate her pregnancy. She felt this was not the right choice for her because Rona had a heartbeat. On the day Rona Jo was born, numerous physician specialists where in the delivery room waiting to take her into the NICU if she was able to take her first breath. Rona Jo never needed NICU care. She survived! She has brought awareness to all the medical staff that gave my daughter no hope.


Rona Jo had fluid retention in her hands and feet that dissipated by the time she was 18 months old. She had surgery on her bicuspid heart to restore blood flow from 26% to 84% at age 6 months. Rona Jo continues to test slightly behind on growth charts. She couldn’t sit up until the age of 1, and she walked at 18 months. She is also speech delayed. Rona recently started speech therapy and we are excited to hear her words.


Rona has a ton of energy and squeals when trying to sing. She has a bubbly, infectious smile and laugh and anyone who meets her can't help but smile, too! Rona is an encourager and motivates others to move and dance. Rona was diagnosed after birth through genetic testing with 45x,48xxx mosaic Turner syndrome. At age 3 she weighs 24 lbs. and is 33.66 inches tall. We believe she will continue to live her best life as her happy self.

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