Lyndhurst family creating “Rae of Hope” foundation after daughter’s diagnosis

Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 11:37 PM EDT
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LYNDHURST, Va. (WHSV) - A local family is creating their own foundation from the ground up in honor of their young daughter’s diagnosis.

“Being told that she’s not gonna be able to do normal things in life like open the doors and things like that it’s scary,” Katelyn Howdyshell said about her infant daughter.

Sophie Rae Howdyshell was diagnosed with Septo-Optic Dysplasia and Optic Nerve Hypoplasia.

This impacts her vision along with other developmental areas such as pituitary issues in the brain.

“Obviously she’s happy but it’s something she’s never known any different,” Howdyshell said.

The diagnosis changed the way the Howdyshell family lives their day-to-day life.

“If she’s eating something or bringing it to her we have to tell her like tell sissy we’re putting the spoon in your mouth and things like that just because it gets her ears kind of used to everything as well as her hands,” she said.

Now, they are hoping to help other children and families who have been diagnosed with similar conditions have a safe place.

“I want to do it so that every vision impaired kid has ... they feel like they’re at home and they have somewhere to go and learn things like opening doors and buttons and things like that like simple everyday tasks,” Howdyshell said.

The family has created the Rae of Hope Foundation, named after their daughter.

The foundation is in its early stages of getting off the ground.

The Howdyshell’s are gathering donations to startup the foundation through GoFundMe.

They hope in the future to put on events to raise money and create a community for kids like Sophie and families like theirs.

“I want all kids who are vision impaired to feel like they’re safe and feel like they can be in a group of other kids who are normal and feel like they fit in as well,” she said.

The family is holding T-shirt sales to raise money.

They will be at United Tire in Stuarts Draft Saturday. Limited shirts will be available there but a full list can be found here along with the order form.

Rae of Hope T-shirt sale
Rae of Hope T-shirt sale(Katelyn Howdyshell)
Rae of Hope Foundation
Rae of Hope Foundation(Katelyn Howdyshell)