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Coleman Family Raises Awareness For Medically Fragile Children

"She is our ray of sunshine, an ever present reminder of God's grace," Coleman said.
“She is our ray of sunshine, an ever present reminder of God’s grace,” Coleman said.

Amanda and Justin Coleman got married in 2008, after dating throughout high school. An avid Ole Miss fan, Amanda went to Ole Miss (2004-2006) before starting nursing school at University of Mississippi Medical Center, while Justin (a State fan) graduated from Mississippi State.

Anna Benton Coleman has cleft hands & feet and cannot sit up by herself. The 14 month old can roll onto her tummy & back, and is a supper happy baby, according to her mom, Anna Coleman.
“Anna is such a happy baby and always has a smile on her face,” Coleman said.

In 2012, the couple welcomed a baby boy, Baker. A few years later, Coleman and her husband were excited to find out they were expecting again, and this time with a baby girl! Coleman’s second pregnancy was healthy and normal, and she never suspected anything would be wrong with her baby.

When Anna Benton Coleman was born, her fingers were fused together (cleft hands) and her toes were also fused. She had seizures and ended up at Batson Children’s Hospital in Jackson, at only a week old.

Amanda, Anna Benton, Justin and Baker Coleman take a family photo at the beach.
Amanda, Anna Benton, Justin and Baker Coleman take a family photo at the beach.

“She had every test imaginable run on her,” Coleman said. “They still haven’t identified any one syndrome. She is part of a research study, which is really cool. They are hoping to find a pattern to see if she has a new syndrome, or if there’s a syndrome they might have missed.”

The Coleman’s currently live in Flowood, and Amanda quit her job as a full time nurse in the Children’s Emergency Department.

“After Anna Benton was born, I chose to stay home to take care of her and worked PRN in the Children’s ER. Batson is my home, and we are all grateful to be a part of it!” Coleman said.

 Justin, Amanda, Baker and Anna Benton dressed as superheroes for the Epilepsy Foundation Superhero 5k Run in April.
Justin, Amanda, Baker and Anna Benton dressed as superheroes for the Epilepsy Foundation Superhero 5k Run in April.

Anna Benton is 14 months old, and is always in her Ole Miss gear, even when her relatives try to sneak in Mississippi State clothing and toys, according to Coleman. “She cannot sit up, but she can roll on her tummy and back, and she’s such a happy baby. She hangs out with us, and says Mommy a lot. We hope her next word will be Da-da. She also wears these super cute pink glasses!”

The Coleman’s participate in multiple fundraisers to raise awareness for medically fragile children, especially the Epilepsy Foundation.

Baker Coleman and his little sister, Anna Benton Coleman.
Baker Coleman and his little sister, Anna Benton Coleman.

“Anna Benton is happy, healthy, and our goal for the future for her would be that she can be independent and able to take care of herself,” Coleman said.

Anna Benton had her first of many hand surgeries in April. She is scheduled to have her next hand surgery at the end of October. Anna receives physical and occupational therapy at Batson’s Children’s Rehabilitation weekly. She is able to sit in her Bumbo seat and can hold her teethers for longer periods of time. She uses a Stander for 45 to 60 minutes a day to increase strength in her legs.

“The Ole Miss and UMMC/Batson communities have been so wonderful to us. Our goal is for Anna Benton to have as normal a life as possible. We draw strength and comfort from our Lord, family and friends.”

Anna Benton loves her Ole Miss rattle!
Anna Benton loves her Ole Miss rattle!

This summer Coleman received information on a new facility for medically fragile children, (like Anna Benton) which will be opening soon in Ridgeland. It’s called Caring Hands Pediatric Extended Care. It is a Pediatric Prescribed Extended Care (PPEC) Center, and the only other facility like this in Mississippi is on the coast. “After my husband and I visited the other center, we felt like this was the perfect fit for Anna Benton, and I wanted to become a part of such a wonderful community.”

Coleman has been hired as the director of nursing at the Caring Hands center, and will be able to be with her daughter everyday.

“Anna Benton has been through more in her first year than most will endure in a lifetime, all while having a smile on her face. She is our ray of sunshine, and an ever present reminder of God’s grace.”


Kathryn Winter is a social media specialist and reporter for HottyToddy.com. You can e-mail her at kathryn.winter@hottytoddy.com

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