Facebook/Sebastian Design | Courtesy of Danielle Munger(NEW YORK) — Little Brynn Munger, 3, was over the moon when she received her matching doll at her birthday party on Saturday.

Her bunny doll, now affectionately named Sparkle, only has one eye — just like her.

“She was really excited,” Brynn’s mother, Danielle Munger, told ABC News of the special surprise. “She got a big smile and she refused to move on to another present until after we had opened it and gotten it out the box.”

Brynn lost her left eye to undifferentiated sarcoma, a rare form of cancer, when she was only a year old.

“We noticed her left eyelid was dropping a little bit, so we took her to the pediatrician and he thought it was something called ptosis,” Danielle, of Kimberly, Idaho, recalled. “We were like, ‘OK, it needs to get addressed but is not life-threatening.’ But a few days later I noticed it was all red around her eye and it started to swell.”

When the family visited the pediatrician again, he immediately sent them to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City.

“They did a CT scan that evening and that’s when they discovered her tumor,” said Danielle. “From there it spiraled. She had three different surgeries before we finally had to take her eye.”

Brynn is now in remission and celebrating happy milestones all the time, but for her birthday this year, Danielle wanted to do something really special. She reached out to doll designer Jessa Sebastion of Sebastian Design with a unique request: a one-eyed bunny doll.

“The whole reason I started making dolls is because I have two girls who don’t really look like sisters and I wanted them to have dolls that looked like them,” Sebastian wrote to ABC News. “So when Danielle asked if I could make a doll who looked like her daughter, I just decided I couldn’t say no. And she was so sweet and excited about it.”

The custom order was a hit with Brynn, whose mom sent photos of her little girl’s excitement to Sebastian to witness how her hard work paid off.

“Getting the pictures from her and also a cute video from her daughter hugging it was quite honestly one of the best things I’ve ever seen,” said Sebastian, who shared the photos on her Facebook page to much acclaim.

The precious pair are now best friends and Brynn has a “big smile” every time they play together.

“That evening she and I were sitting together reading a book,” said Danielle. “It felt so good to tell her, ‘Yes, she’s special too. This bunny is sick too and she lost her eye, but she’s still special too.’”

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Photodisc/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — This week, Grey’s Anatomy star Chandra Wilson is shining a light on a rare condition that has affected her daughter called cyclic vomiting syndrome, or CVS.

Since it took nearly a year for Wilson’s daughter to receive a confirmed diagnosis, she is highlighting the disorder to help other people who may be suffering with the symptoms.

Here are some key facts about CVS:

What is cyclic vomiting syndrome? The syndrome is a condition where a person has sudden and repeated bouts of nausea, vomiting and exhaustion, according to Cleveland Clinic. There is no apparent cause.

Usually these symptoms occur early in the morning and an attack can last from several hours to several days. Both men and women can be affected, but it is more common in children than adults.

CVS affects the upper gastrointestinal tract, which includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach and part of the small intestine, according to the The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Symptoms include repeated episodes of severe nausea, lack of appetite, sensitivity to light, pain in the abdomen, severe fatigue and severe headaches.

What is the cause?

It is unclear why the disease occurs, but one theory is that a person has abnormal function of their mitochondria, the energy powerhouse in their cells. According to the Cleveland Clinic, changes in the mitochondrial function have been observed in people with CVS and they may be one cause for the condition.

Additionally, hormonal imbalances, nervous system problems or gastrointestinal dysfunction may also lead to developing the syndrome, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

People with a history of migraines may be more susceptible to the disease, according to the NIH.

How is an episode triggered?

Although there is no specific cause of CVS, the NIH says there are certain instances that may lead to a cycle of vomiting. Both physical changes and emotional stress can trigger CVS.

“Emotional stress, anxiety, or panic attacks — for example, in children, common triggers of anticipatory anxiety are school exams or events, birthday parties, holidays, family conflicts, or travel,” the NIH says on their website.

Physical changes in the body’s systems such as infections and flu, as well as motion sickness, heat or physical exhaustion and even a regular menstrual cycle are some of the conditions that can lead to an episode, the NIH says. Food additives like caffeine, nitrites and MSG can also be triggers.

Is there treatment?

There is no known cure for the syndrome, but people affected can receive treatments to mitigate symptoms, such as nausea, and to treat other conditions that can contribute, like migraines.

How many people are affected?

Approximately 3 in every 100,000 children are diagnosed with CVS, according to the Cleveland Clinic. However, it’s difficult to estimate the total number of people affected by the syndrome because it is not always reported. The Mayo Clinic estimates that 2 percent of school-age children may be affected and cases are increasing in adults, according to research.

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Mike Marsland/Mike Marsland/WireImage(NEW YORK) — For Jennifer Hudson, maintaining her 80-pound weight loss is as simple as watching what she eats.

“Well, I don’t really have time to do much [exercise],” the Voice UK coach, 35, told British talk show Lorraine on Wednesday. “I just watch what I eat. I’m very careful and cautious of what I’m eating and I just try to place those meals throughout the day.”

She explained, “If it’s early in the morning, OK, I would still be asleep, so I’m not gonna eat right now. I’m very conscious of what I put in my body.”

The Oscar winner for Dreamgirls first dropped the weight six years ago after joining Weight Watchers. She was named a company spokesperson in 2010.

In 2014, Hudson told Yahoo! Style that she doesn’t let tempting foods intimidate her.

“I throw the pancakes across the room!” she said. “If it’s too much, I just get rid of it, but I make sure to watch what I put in my body. And I make sure I know what it is. It’s all about portions for the most part.”

Hudson does allow for one indulgence, however.

“I always have to have chocolate around — it’s my cigarette,” she told the website. “I don’t smoke but it calms me so well. I don’t like too much junk in my dressing room because I have to watch what I eat, so I put everything else out of the room.”

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Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) — Michael J. Fox has been living with Parkinson’s disease for decades, but he’s kept his sense of humor about it. In an interview for the April/May issue of AARP magazine, he spoke about how the condition makes him laugh.

“The truth is that on most days, there comes a point where I literally can’t stop laughing at my own symptoms,” he said.

Even mundane tasks that give him a little trouble are enough to entertain the actor, 55, who went public with his diagnosis in 1998. He talked about the adventures of getting coffee in the morning for himself and his wife.

“I pour a cup — a little trouble there,” Fox said. “Then I put both hands around the cup. She’s watching. ‘Can I get that for you, dear?’ ‘Nah, I got it!’ Then I begin this trek across the kitchen. It starts off bad. Only gets worse. Hot java’s sloshing onto my hands, onto the floor.”

Fox said he and his wife of nearly 30 years, Tracy Pollan, don’t let these small struggles get them down.

“There’s the fact that it’s 7 in the morning and this is how we begin our day — the right way,” he said. “But the thing that makes it hilarious to me is when I think of someone else watching all this and thinking, ‘Poor Michael can’t even get the coffee — it’s so sad!'”

The actor said he also had to learn to deal with the public perception of how “sad” his condition is.

“You deal with the condition, and you deal with people’s perception of the condition,” Fox said. “It was easy for me to tune into the way other people were looking into my eyes and seeing their own fear reflected back. I’d assure them that ‘I’m doing great’ — because I was. After a while, the disconnect between the way I felt and the dread people were projecting just seemed, you know, funny.”

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ABC News(NEW YORK) — Actress Chandra Wilson, who plays a doctor on ABC’s long-running hit drama Grey’s Anatomy, opened up about her family’s real-life medical saga in an interview with Good Morning America that aired Thursday.

Wilson, who has played Dr. Miranda Bailey on Grey’s Anatomy for the past 13 seasons, described the uncertainty and fear she faced when her daughter, Sarina McFarlane, 23, first became ill as a teenager.

The Emmy-nominated actress said her daughter became afflicted with nausea, vomiting and crippling abdominal pain. McFarlane’s mysterious illness baffled doctors, and Wilson said they went nearly 10 months before she finally got a diagnosis — cyclic vomiting syndrome, or CVS, a neurological disorder characterized by a series of prolonged attacks of severe nausea and vomiting, with no apparent cause.

“It presented itself like a real bad case of food poisoning,” Wilson explained. “It didn’t go away for four or five days so because of that we went to the ER.”

Wilson said emergency room doctors hydrated her daughter but none of the tests showed it was anything different.

“A month later, the exact same presentation happened and this was month after month after month for 10 months,” she said.

Wilson kept a running log of her daughter’s symptoms in multiple, 5-inch thick binders to note any progress or changes and to streamline the often-arduous check-in process at hospitals.

“I started looking for patterns,” Wilson said. “When you are the parent of someone who is a chronic pain sufferer, you end up creating these binders for all of the hospital stays so you can keep track of every visit and any new thing that comes out.”

Dr. Richards Boles, medical director at Courtagen Life Sciences — a medical facility that specializes in genetic testing to find solutions for complicated neurological and metabolic diseases — said McFarlane could have suffered years had it not been for her mom’s tenacity.

“Serena was lucky because of the care and persistence of her mother,” Boles said. “Most patients go many years without a diagnosis.”

“The name gave us a direction to go in,” Wilson said of receiving the diagnosis. “And it put us in a community of other people that seriously were going through the exact same thing stage by stage.”

Motivated by her daughter’s condition, the Grey’s Anatomy star went one step further and directed an episode that mirrored her own scramble for a diagnosis for this mysterious disease.

“Being able to be on Grey’s Anatomy with all of those people able to watch it and hear it and say, ‘Oh my God. That’s what that is. I’ve heard of that. That’s my kid. That’s my husband. That’s my aunt,'” Wilson said. “That means so much because I just remember what it meant to us.”

She added, “[If] that’s something that I can do sitting in this chair on the set, then my daughter has said, ‘Go ahead. Go and do that.'”

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luchschen/iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — From late nights out to early mornings on the job, 30-year-old entrepreneur Erin Finnegan says she has a secret boost that keeps her going.

She uses “nootropics,” also called “smart drugs,” or supplements claiming to boost brain function, helping to improve memory, focus and maybe even make you brilliant.

“I’m bicoastal, I’m in New York and I’m here [in Los Angeles], and a lot of times traveling,” Finnegan said.

Much like how actor Bradley Cooper played a character who took a pill and his focus went from zero to 100 in the movie “Limitless,” there are some saying the effects of these supplements are nonfiction. Countless users on Reddit swear by these pills, heralding benefits from “increased focus” to “mental stimulation.”

Finnegan said nootropics is one of the keys to her success.

“I would not give them up willingly,” she said. “The additional focus that I can have with them, yes, it does sustain the speed I am going at now and the many things, I would have to take a couple things off my plate if I wanted to keep going without them.”

And she takes a pill every day.

“It’s not like press a button and all of a sudden turbo charge and switch into ‘nootropics mode,’” she said. “I found that it helped lessen the time it took me to switch gears, if that makes sense.”

But some doctors are questioning if the claims are too good to be true.

“The lack of controlled trials the lack of rigorous scientific research and the lack of studies that actually try to study all of these different types of nootropics in certain combinations altogether,” said Dr. Richard Isaacson, a neuroscientist and Alzheimer’s expert.

Nootropics stacks, or pills, are mixes of different components and can include different ingredients from caffeine and L-Theanine — a type of amino acid — to herbal supplements to the brain-boosting supplement, piracetam.

Although they claim to alter brain function, nootropics are marketed not as a drug but as a type of dietary supplement, which means they don’t need FDA approval.

Geoff Woo, 29-year-old co-founder of nootropics company Nootrobox, said he got interested in the supplement because he “wanted to be smarter.”

“I grew up very competitive and wanting to be the best version of myself possible,” Woo said. “If there’s one really smart person in the world, great we have another Einstein, but if everyone was super smart there’s like an exponential amount of information and innovation.”

Four years ago, Woo was working at a venture capital firm when he started digging around the internet and experimenting.

“We were tinkering with things from laboratories from China, from off-label compounds, everything,” he said.

Today, it’s become much more than a hobby for Woo. He says business is booming, and he caught the attention and financial backing of top Silicon Valley titans like early Facebook investor Andreesen Horowitz and Yahoo’s Marisa Mayer. He even made his pitch on an episode of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” but didn’t get any bites.

“I’ve tried nootropics, that’s what people use to go on 48-hour coding binges,” Shark Chris Sacca told Woo when he appeared in a “Shark Tank” episode that aired in December. “But at the end of the day, you’re left with a headache, lack of recall, sometimes. I’m worried about the long term consequences so I’m out.”

Inside Woo’s tightly controlled lab, located an hour outside of Los Angeles, his team pumps out thousands of little pills every day.

“For our company, we have four different pills, or four different types of stacks,” he said.

Woo claims his pills to do everything from boosting “immediate clarity, energy and flow” to enhancing “memory, stamina and resilience.”

“The whole notion is approaching the human body as if we were from an engineer’s perspective. So optimizing shortcuts to being better, more productive versions of ourselves,” he said. “I think we all want to be better versions of ourselves. I think that’s one of the distinguishing factors of being human.”

Nootrobox’s products are supplements so they are not FDA approved, but Woo said everything his company produces is “generally regarded as safe” by the FDA, which he said, “is the highest level of safety that the FDA gives for all things that one can consume.”

“It’s based on understanding of biological mechanisms,” Woo said. “Our science team, which consists of actually practicing doctors and M.D. Ph.D.s, walk through that and actually validate any cross indications.”

But some experts caution that this temporary boost could have side effects, with many citing the lack of studies about long-term impacts.

“You may have several ingredients on the label and there may be one of the many ingredients on there that may interact with your blood pressure medicines or it may interact with something else,” Dr. Isaacson said. “While these drugs by itself may be generally safe, it’s hard to generalize. They may interact with other things … so that’s why we always recommend discussion of approval by a treating physician.”

Despite potential side effects, there are some who are taking multiple nootropic pills a day. Megan Klimen is a self-proclaimed “bio-hacker” who has been experimenting with nootropics for years. On a stressful day, she said she’ll take about eight to 10 pills.

“So on a daily basis, I take ‘The Rise,’ I take the KADO 3, which is this mix of the vitamins that you need, it’s got vitamin D, it’s got K, it’s got Omega 3, it’s got DHA,” she said. “Before I found the Nootrobox, I had 12 different ones that I was taking, but those 12 different ones are summed up in these really well.”

Eric Matzner created his company Nootroo after becoming fascinating in reading about the supplements online. He said he takes over 40 supplements each day.

“I get most of my energy from the ingredients in Nootroo,” he said. “There’s a form of caffeine, a really advanced form of caffeine called Purenergy. That’s a caffeine crystal … I love ubiquinol I take a ton of it … I’ll take like 300 or more milligrams a day.”

Matzner said nootropics are a whole new take on science and health care, and some users believe they could be the future.

“We’re talking about … a new type of biology where we’re taking these things into our own hands but also to try and proactively go from baseline to above,” said Matzner.

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Courtesy Michelle Adkins(ROBINSON, Texas) — One kindergartner undergoing cancer treatment is able to “attend” class, thanks to the help of artificial intelligence.

In January, PJ Trojanowski, 6, was diagnosed with the kidney cancer Wilms tumor in both kidneys.

“She’s our most outgoing child,” dad Eric Trojanowski told ABC News Wednesday. “It was a different thing to sit down and tell my 6-ear-old, ‘You have cancer and the doctors have to figure out how to get it out of you. She was feisty about it. The doc even said, ‘I don’t know Paisley very well, but I know kids like her do well in treatment because they have a lot of fight in them.'”

“It takes a lot out of her … [but] she’s taking it in stride,” he added. “She talks about [how] she’s going to beat cancer.”

Because of her weakened immune system, Paisley Jane, who goes by PJ, was unable to return to her kindergarten classroom at Robinson Primary School in Robinson, Texas.

With help from her school and the Region 12 Education Service Center, a VGo robot was brought to Robinson Primary on PJ’s behalf.

The robot allows PJ to interact with classmates and observe lessons given by her teacher, Michelle Adkins, while she receives chemotherapy treatments at McLane Children’s hospital in Temple, Texas.

Adkins told ABC News that her other 19 students are accustomed to PJ logging into the mobile robot from her iPad, and having it move around the classroom.

She also does home teaching visits with PJ two days a week to practice new skills face-to-face.

“I think she likes to interact with it,” Adkins said. “She likes to know what we’re doing and it’s a way for her to get more learning time in. Her parents really enjoy it also.”

Trojanowski, a dad of three, said he helps PJ drive the robot around the classroom from the hospital.

“She enjoys listening to the story time and listening in on the lessons,” he said. “She told me, ‘Sometimes it makes me sad because I want to be with my friends at school.’

“I tell her, ‘You’re at home now and get to watch and listen,'” he continued. “She’s getting used to the idea. The support of the school district has been nothing short of amazing.”

PJ is undergoing chemotherapy and will receive surgery to remove the two tumors at the end of April.

The Trojanowskis hope she can rejoin her classmates at the start of first grade.

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Courtesy Josue and Maruska Vella(NEW YORK) — Jake Vella is literally running for his life.

The 7-year-old Maltese boy suffers from an extremely rare life-threatening disease that causes him to gain weight despite his healthy diet and vigorous exercise regime. Less than 100 people in the world have ever been diagnosed with the illness called ROHHAD, which affects the automatic nervous system and endocrine system.

But Jake is no ordinary kid. To help combat the disease he competes in triathlons like his father and follows a strict diet.

“Triathlons help Jake to keep fit and active. It’s good for his health and also gives him a chance to socialize with other kids,” his parents, Josue and Maruska Vella , told ABC News. “He leads a normal life, goes to school, plays the drums, but he has to be very careful not to get sick and we are frightened that a simple flu could lead to other complications.”

When Jake was first diagnosed with the dangerous illness at age six in 2015, it came as a huge shock to the family. Nobody else on the small Mediterranean island nation of Malta suffers from ROHHAD, so there was no playbook to go by.

ROHHAD stands for rapid-onset obesity (RO) with hypothalamic dysregulation (H), hypoventilation (H), and autonomic dysregulation (AD). It is a rare, life-threatening syndrome that affects the autonomic nervous system (which controls involuntary actions) and the endocrine system.

People with this disease may exhibit a wide range of symptoms including slow heartbeat, excessive sweating, altered pupil response to light and they also may be unable to maintain normal water balance in the body or go through early or late puberty, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

Typically the patient will experience rapid weight gain in a 6- to 12-month period and may be at risk for developing certain kinds of tumors. In Jake’s case it has also caused a tumor to grow on his back. There is no proven cure for the disease.

The Vellas say they just live day-by-day and hope for the best.

Jake’s video has gone viral and helped raise awareness for the disease. The young triathlete dreams about meeting Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee, two of the world’s top triathletes. Jake cannot travel because of his illness but the Brownlee brothers’ manager has been in touch following the video’s success.

Nothing is organized yet, but Jake has his fingers crossed for a shot at meeting his idols.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Premature deaths of people under age 75 are increasing at a dramatic rate across the U.S., according to a new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The authors of the foundation’s annual report from its County Health Rankings and Roadmaps program noted a dramatic uptick in premature deaths in the U.S. due largely to “unintentional injuries,” which include accidental drug overdoses and car crashes.

They found that in 2015, 1.2 million people in the U.S. died prematurely or before the age of 75 from causes considered preventable. This is an increase of nearly 40,000 from the previous year. These additional premature deaths were more likely to occur in younger people, the report found.

Eight-five percent of the increase in people who died prematurely in 2015 were 15 to 44 years old.

“These are Americans [who] are dying essentially in the prime of their life,” said Abbey Cofsky, the deputy director of data and science at the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute, which collaborated on the report. “They are dying as young adults” or with young families, she added.

Accidental drug overdose, homicides and motor vehicle crashes appear to be huge factors in these deaths. The report’s authors found that 6,787 people ages 15 to 24 died from motor vehicle accidents, 4,140 were firearm homicide victims and 3,727 died from drug overdoses. Accidental drug overdoses are increasing at a much more significant rate than other causes of premature death, the authors said.

The researchers have documented an increase in premature deaths since 2012, with a more dramatic increase from 2014 to 2015.

“That’s when we really wanted to look deeper in population,” said Julie Willems Van Dijk, a registered nurse and the director of the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps program. She pointed out that before 2012, there was a long-term downward trend in the number of premature deaths.

“That’s when we dug into the story [of increased injuries]. A lot of time people don’t think of drug overdoses as injuries,” she said. “Even when someone is a drug addict, they don’t intend to die.”

Opioid overdoses in particular have increased in recent years. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 33,000 people died because of opioid overdose in 2015 and that 91 people in the U.S. die every day from such drugs.

The researchers estimated the years of life lost in a population due to drug overdoses. For American Indian/Alaskan Natives, 736 potential years of life are lost per 100,000 people. The number was highest for white people, with 778 years lost per 100,000 people.

Dr. Ellie Ragsdale of University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center said it has been a struggle to reach people most affected by opioid addiction, many of whom live in rural areas with fewer resources.

“That is a population that we have been trying to target for many years, and we want to decrease the epidemic,” she said.

Ragsdale said doctors have been making an effort to cut down on the amount of opioids prescribed for patients, in the hopes of diminishing the epidemic.

“I think there’s been a big collaborative effort among health care providers to limit prescriptions,” she said. “We have seen a benefit on the front lines, but we’re not seeing it in the data yet.”

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ABC News(RICHMOND, Va.) — For parents of terminally ill children, professional photographs aren’t typically at the top of the priority list.

But the Tiny Sparrow Foundation, an organization that matches professional photographers with these families free of charge, says the parents they serve are often “incredibly appreciative and grateful for the memories.”

ABC News traveled to Richmond, Virginia, to document a Tiny Sparrow photo shoot with the Cummings family. Veronica Cummings, 10, was born with a genetic condition called Trisomy 13.

“All I remember was, when I looked up, his face had turned white,” mother Christina Cummings said about her husband, Ronnie, when Veronica was first born, “and he sat down on the couch, hands on his head, and doctors were calling for other doctors to come in and they wouldn’t let me see her, and I was on a lot of medicine.”

“And the next thing I knew, a little bit later, they had brought in a geneticist who handed me a page-and-a-half printout stapled together,” she said. “I just remember reading ‘Trisomy 13 is not compatible with life’ and I couldn’t even read past that.”

“I couldn’t even read whatever else was on there because I didn’t understand how to take that. I had no idea and I didn’t believe that was happening.”

“Not compatible with life” is a phrase parents of children with Trisomy 13 often hear. And while Veronica needs a great deal of assistance in every respect, her parents say she is very much alive and a tremendous blessing to her family and community.

“I couldn’t say this at the beginning, but I think now that it’s really a gift that was given to us, she’s touched so many people around us in so many different ways,” said her father, Ronnie Cummings.

“I didn’t grow up around anybody with special needs in my family, Christina didn’t either, and just the change it’s made in people in our family,” he said. “For me personally, she’s made me humble in a different kind of way. She needs us for everything, and it’s just changed me as a person in a good way. We’re lucky that we have her.”

It’s a testament to both Veronica and her devoted parents and sisters — Ava, 11, and Charlotte, 6 — that she has lived for more than 10 years. “She’s so strong, she’s a fighter,” her mother said.

But Christina has had to come to terms with the reality of losing Veronica, in the last year. Tiny Sparrow had offered a photoshoot to the family in the past, but she declined.

“I wasn’t ready for it,” she said. “I thought it was an amazing organization for a great cause. I loved the idea, but I didn’t want to accept that we were candidates for that.”

Other charitable organizations had also offered the Cummings family services that she didn’t accept for the same reasons.

“It felt like similar to the way Veronica got a Make-A-Wish trip –- I wasn’t ready to take that for a whole 10 years,” Christina said. “[Make-A-Wish] had been telling us ‘Take it, take these trips,’ and I didn’t want to because it felt like it’s the beginning of the end. And I wasn’t ready for that.

“But this past year, actually, she had been really sick,” Christina said. “She hasn’t been to school at all this year. She was supposed to have surgery in January, and she had a surgery this past summer, and it just kept feeling like more and more things were going in the wrong direction. And so I opened up my mind to it and I said ‘Okay, let’s go ahead and get some memories while she’s looking good, while she’s happy.’ So only this past year, after 10 years of people telling me, you don’t know how long you have with her you need to take advantage of all these things.”

Tiny Sparrow has worked with more than 200 families since its inception in 2009 and say their goal is to capture feelings and personality.

“We try to capture their [the child’s] spirit and their smile and just the essence of who they are and the innocence,” Communications Director Mary Beth Thomsen told ABC News. “We also get to capture the love of their family.”

The Cummings’ other daughters spoke about Veronica’s spirit.

“Her smile brightens my day,” said Charlotte.

That smile is what professional photographer Katie Cartwright was hoping to capture during the photo shoot. The Cummings family was the third family she photographed on behalf of Tiny Sparrow.

She said she strives for “the photos you get of the child when you get that expression in their eyes, the light caught in their eyes where you know that that’s something their parents will really cherish.”

Thomsen said the foundation does a “special screening for our photographers because we need them to know that this is a very sensitive situation and they need to be handle it emotionally and they’re going to be put in a situation that is very difficult for them.”

Tiny Sparrow doesn’t have trouble finding photographers willing to donate their services, she said. But the demand for these photos is great and since the photographers are volunteers, it isn’t always easy to keep up. The organization said it hopes to be able to raise enough funds for some paid positions this year.

“We’re hoping to fund some paid part-time positions so we can have some dedicated people to dedicate their time to making these photo shoots happen,” she said.

But they continue providing their services to families. On an overcast day in Virginia, there was an appreciative family and a talented photographer capturing special moments between the parents and children. Christina Cummings called the experience a success and reflected on what having Veronica in their lives has meant.

“We wouldn’t see the world that we see it, we wouldn’t have the doors open that we have open for us if it wasn’t for her, if it wasn’t for Veronica,” she said. “It’s showed us a different side of humanity, who we can be, and to show our kids the same — to see them grow up with the type of heart and compassion that you don’t always see in kids now.”

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