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Community rallies around girl with neurological disorder who can't smile

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Since birth, she has been physically unable to crack a smile but the close-knit mountain community was intent on seeing Hannah smile real soon. (KFSN)

A rare neurological disorder hasn't slowed up little Hannah Lockwood. The 5-year-old brightens everyone's day in Coarsegold. Since birth, she has been physically unable to crack a smile but the close-knit mountain community was intent on seeing Hannah smile real soon.

On the Coarsegold Elementary Playground, Hannah's laugh lets you know she's having fun, but this cute little girl was born with Moebius syndrome.

Hannah's father Kevin Lockwood explained, "Moebius syndrome, it's 6th and 7th cranial nerves are not formed correctly at birth and that creates paralysis of all the muscles in the head region."

Hannah was a blur on the playground as she quickly moved around at recess with her best friend J.J., but the expression on her face never changed. She can't smile.

Her mother Sarah Lockwood said, "We'd pray every night before bed and she started talking to us about being sad my smile doesn't go up like yours."

Dad recalled how she told them, "Mom, dad I want to smile like everyone else. You know, when that happens and your kid asks you that you'll move mountains to make it happen."

Kevin said the family's Kaiser insurance plan didn't cover the procedure they sought.

Sarah said, "We have a doctor, Dr. Panossian in LA. He's going to do the surgery."

Hannah interjected, "For me!"

But the procedure will cost $36,000.

Unbeknownst to the family, Hannah's pre-school teacher started a Facebook page "Hannah's Smile" and an account on www.youcaring.com to help raise funds. The effort has netted $17,000.

The generosity made Sarah smile. She said, "We were completely blown away."

Next week, buttons and hearts will be sold at Coarsegold Elementary School and Yosemite High.

Teacher Mindy Gresham said, "it brings joy to my heart. There's nothing like having a community, a small community like ours to rally around a family that is in need."

The Lockwoods have adopted five children from China, Vietnam and Kazakhstan. Three of them with special needs but just like with any other kids heaven is a playground.

Hannah's often the leader of the pack.

I asked her, "do you want to smile like mom and dad?"

She replied, "Yeah," Hannah added she'll be able to do that after her surgery.

Kevin said, "we can hear a smile. We can tell a smile just by the other things she's doing at the time."

The partial paralysis even keeps Hannah from raising her eyebrows.

Teacher Tracey Duncan said, "She's a happy fantastic kid who is always smiling inside but because of the syndrome you don't see her smile on the outside."

That will change this summer after surgery to create Hannah's smile.

Hannah had a message for all who have helped. She simply said, "thank you."

The school year may be winding down but kids and teachers couldn't wait until the fall when Hannah expects to start first grade with a big smile on her face.


Click here to donate

Send Donations to:
Coarsegold Elementary School
Attn: Hannah's Smile
45426 Rd 415
Coarsegold, CA 93614

Or stop by the school and purchase a button.


Upcoming fundraising events

Rummage Sale
June 11th
Coarsegold Village

Related Topics:
newsgood newschildrenmadera countyCalifornia
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