Big Surprises, Bigger Heart By David and Melissa Ramirez, Eli’s biggest fans

Elijah was born two days before Christmas in 2006 at exactly the stroke of midnight. His arrival, no doubt, was predetermined by our Heavenly Father at a time when the maternity ward would be vacant and the waiting room unoccupied. You see, Elijah would require the attention of everyone on staff that night as he entered the world weighing only 4 pounds and 2 ounces with remarkable surprises that would stun most physicians.

It would take years of research, tests and questions before we would know that our precious son had two mutations on one little gene, RECQL4, which caused missing knee joints, missing thumbs, missing radius bones, a never-ending skin rash, a cleft palate, smallness, a vision deficit, legs that won’t grow and mangled feet. Eli was born with missing parts, but his heart is big and his smile contagious.

It would only take three months after Elijah’s birth for a dear friend of mine to recommend I place Elijah on the waiting list at The Little Light House. I can admit now that I added Eli to the waiting list absolutely sure that he wouldn’t need the services. Just after Eli’s second birthday he was welcomed to the school. We knew this was God’s plan for Eli.

When Eli started at The Little Light House he could sit up, but that was it. He couldn’t crawl. He couldn’t help himself to lie down from sitting or vice versa. He couldn’t explore his surroundings without the assistance of an adult. Eli was stuck. When we told the therapists that we wanted Eli to be able to get up and down on his own, they didn’t flinch. They knew it was possible. Honestly, I wasn’t sure. I figured I was giving them a task that would take years to accomplish.

I was wrong. The therapy team and classroom teachers worked with Elijah every day, and every day he achieved something. Soon, he was gently helping himself from sitting to laying and back up. Next, he cleverly developed a skill to sit on his bottom and scoot around on the floor taking himself wherever his heart desired. He’s learning how to use his four fingers to meet his needs. His vocabulary is developing quickly, and recently he starting forming complete sentences, “Where are you, e-a?”

I laugh about the time I told Eli’s teacher that he started calling his sister “e-a” (her name is Sophia). I was thrilled. Later, I realized that it was his teacher who taught him her name and how to say it using the family photos they had requested. The caring teachers at The Little Light House think of everything!

If I give you a glimpse into our world you would see long hospital stays, countless doctor visits and 11 painful surgeries. You would know that being Eli’s parents is a lot of hard work and often times hurts deeply as we watch him suffer through surgeries, tests and illness. But, what I want you to know is that the Little Light House is a place of hope for us. The Little Light House is where Eli learns to be the best he can be – where he learns to thrive.

You can learn about Eli’s journey at, but today, I hope you are inspired by his story. I hope you see that his future is possible thanks to the expert instruction he receives at The Little Light House. Please, remember Eli’s school in your charitable giving. Without your help, Eli’s hope will dim.

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