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Every day, Taryn Connor watches her mother feed, carry and clothe her little sister Brynn. Brynn cannot walk, talk or use her hands so, it’s up to Taryn and her family to support Brynn in everything she does, from washing her hands to getting dressed in the morning.

As a toddler, Brynn was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome, which is a neurological disorder found almost exclusively in girls. While Brynn can’t do everything Taryn can do, the two and their brother Devon, 3, are still able to enjoy every day together, watching tv shows, riding horses and listening to Brynn’s favorite rapper, Eminem.

Seeing her sister struggle every day, 9-year-old Taryn has always been motivated to help in any way she can, whether it’s hosting a lemonade stand or writing a letter to a celebrity. That’s why she and Brynn ended up in New York City Nov. 20 for a private visit with pop singer Gwen Stefani.

One night, the Marlton resident was watching The Voice, a tv singing competition, and decided that celebrity judge Gwen Stefani would be interested in helping out Brynn. She wrote a letter to the pop singer telling her about Brynn’s condition and sharing all the ways the family has made efforts to help her. After she wrote the letter, her parents posted it on Facebook and they mailed it to Stefani.

“I love how brave Brynn is,” Taryn says. “I’ve learned a lot from her. I wanted to do something so, after watching the show, I just wrote a letter to her.”

For the past four years, Taryn’s parents have hosted the annual Happy Hour to Help End Rett fundraiser to raise money for a cure for Rett Syndrome. They are more motivated now than ever after finding out that scientists have already been successful in reversing the disorder in mice. Seeing her parents help Brynn so much, Taryn was motivated to help in her own way. This year, Taryn held the second annual Brynn’s Beach Games, where guests participated in competitions like eating mini doughnuts off a string and popping balloons tied to others’ ankles.

“I raise money because they reversed it in mice and I want to help scientists reverse it in girls,” she says. “I love my sister so, I just want to do something to raise awareness so she can be cured faster.”

Taryn’s mom, Kristen, says she didn’t know that Taryn got her fundraising ideas from her. She said Taryn sees her sister struggle so much with everyday tasks, and her compassion just comes naturally as a result.

“She has such a kind heart,” Kristen says. “That’s just her nature. You realize what’s important in life when you have a child with a disability living with you. The fact that she was rewarded with a visit with Gwen Stefani, just the fact that she was rewarded for a kind act makes us super proud of her. We’re proud of her kind soul towards Brynn and all people in her life.”

 

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