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Sunshine on a Ranney Day

12:03 PM, Aug 20, 2012   |    comments
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BONAIRE, Ga. -- To watch Mathew Majka move in his military uniform, you would think he were the one out on a mission.

But as soon as Mathew makes it inside the car, the real troops move into action.

In one day, an army of volunteers will turn Mathew's room into a magical escape, creating the little boy's dream, as well as Holly Ranney's.

Ranney is the founder of Sunshine on a Ranney Day, a charity that hopes to remodel rooms for children with chronic or terminal illnesses -- children like Mathew, who has tumors on his brain and spine. He must spend much more time indoors than he would like.

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FULL COVERAGE | Sunshine on a Ranney Day

"He gets discouraged," Mathew's father Michael says. "He wants to be out with his friends, running around, riding his bike. He can't do that."

But Mathew can get a sneak peek into something else he loves -- the Air Force. After a tour of Warner Robins Air Force Base, he takes his very first flight.

With Mathew's head in the clouds, the volunteers stay grounded, painting walls, trim, doors and ledges, solid colors and camo. The theme through it all is military aviation.

From big bold decorations to a small simple frame, Michael Majka takes it all in. Only one word comes to mind: overwhelmed.

It's a feeling the single father is used to. Mathew was diagnosed two years ago. Since then, it's been a series of radiation and chemo.

"I'm helpless because I can't fix it," Michael says. "Daddy can't fix this one."

Mathew's bedroom is Sunshine on a Ranney Day's first project. To make sure it's not the last, the organization needs donations -- time, supplies, money. And it also needs families in need of a little sunshine on a rainy day.

With the final frenzy in full gear, the volunteer army prepares to look back on their battlefield. In eight hours, the troops completely transformed Mathew's bedroom.

When Mathew sees the spoils of the war he, like his father, is left with only one word: "Whoa! Just whoa!"

Just as Ranney hoped, the room proves cool enough to lure friends in when Mathew can't go out. As for her dream, her tears say as much as her words.

"Everybody just working together and the military guys and to see Mathew's face -- it's awesome," Ranney said.

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