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A ‘RAY’ OF SUNSHINE

Mary Ellen Ray (far left) smiles as she is pushed around Tom Byrne Park’s walking and running path Saturday night. | Andrew Garner/Atmore Advance

Mary Ellen Ray (far left) smiles as she is pushed around Tom Byrne Park’s walking and running path Saturday night. | Andrew Garner/Atmore Advance

Fun run held to raise funds for local’s surgery

Mary Ellen Ray couldn’t hold back her excitement when she arrived at Tom Byrne Park on Saturday night.

Ray arrived to a gathering of supporters who participated in a Fun Run to help raise funds for her new teeth and some grafts.

Her mom, Jeni Lynn Ray, said Ray — who is wheelchair bound — rolled down some steps and busted her teeth out, along with her upper bridge that holds the teeth.

“The resulting injury knocked out five teeth and caused multiple fractures to her bridge,” Jeni said. “She has had reconstructive surgery on her bridge and now needs dental implants, a bone graft to her gum line and an artificial bridge to complete her recovery.

“Medicaid covers the operation, but won’t cover the implants (for the teeth) and some grafts,” she said.

From an early age Ray, now 19, has been dealing with adversity. At birth, she weighed 1 pound, 2 ounces.

Since then, Ray has struggled to maintain a healthy weight, which this surgery will help toward maintaining, Jeni said on her GoFundMe page.

The preliminary cost for the oral surgical team is $21,641, which does not include costs associated with anesthesia, periodontal dentistry, or the bridge, Jeni wrote.

Additional expenses may also be incurred, as this is a special case with some unknown difficulties possible.

Jeni, her husband, Joe, are members of Robinsonville Baptist Church.

The fun run was organized by the Southern Angel Fundraisers of Atmore.

To learn more about Ray and to donate, visit her GoFundMe page at https://www.gofundme.com/maryellenray?ssid=758724221&pos=2.