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Canton girl nicknames kidney after mom

Canton girl nicknames kidney after mom

CANTON, Ga. -- March 28 is Lilly Grace's birthday, and it's all made possible by Millie, the nickname she gave her kidney. 

Lilly Grace and 6-year-old sister Maggie both have a rare genetic disease called Cystinosis. Their mom pulled out a pile of paperwork to try to explain it.

"We didn't know what it was before Lilly Grace was diagnosed. Most doctors don't. We have to explain it to them," Ashley Haynes said.

The sisters are used to explaining it to other kids.

"I sort of just tell them I have a disease that makes me be sort of different," Lilly Grace said. 

"My kidney is worse than anybody else and I have to take lots of medicine," Maggie adds.

It means the lunch boxes that are color coordinated with their backpacks are really medical kits. They have multiple prescriptions they have to take every six or 12 hours.

The Autism Gap: The fight for insurance

The Autism Gap: The fight for insurance

ATLANTA -- Eight year old Ava Bullard is playing with her sisters, riding their bikes on their long country driveway. It is a simple act that defies those who said she would never talk, those who said she wouldn't function in the real world.

Ava was not a typical baby, or toddler.

Her mother Anna says, "You couldn't interact with her."

MORE | Complete coverage of The Autism Gap

Ava did not play with toys. Did not speak. Could not dress herself. Did not interact with her parents or sisters. Slept two hours a night. She was in her own world.

Anna says, "It's like she looked straight through me. She would just...it's like you weren't there, if you were in the room with her."

Anna Bullard took Ava from doctor to doctor for months. One doctor told the family Ava was 'just weird.'

YMCA removes economic barriers between those in need, programs

YMCA removes economic barriers between those in need, programs

ATLANTA -- The YMCA of Metro Atlanta kicked off a campaign on Tuesday that will connect families in need with scholarships, allowing them to participate in YMCA programs. 

The campaign, Why It Matters takes place once a year. For 2013, board members Charlie Yates, Jr. and Carol Cookerly will co-chair the campaign as it works towards raising $2.7 million. 

"The Y has always had an annual campaign that helped meet the need for financial assistance," Cookerly said. "But, this marks the first year we are pulling together our 23 local Ys and launching a system-wide brand and effort to secure the funds we need to continue to play a pivotal role in Atlanta by helping individuals, especially children, reach their greatest potential."

Cherokee County announces graduation schedule

Cherokee County announces graduation schedule

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. -- The Cherokee County School District has released its graduation schedule for the Class of 2013.

All graduation ceremonies will take place at First Baptist Church of Woodstock.

RELATED | Cherokee graduation venue sparks debate

On Thursday, May 23, Sequoyah High School will hold its graduation ceremony at 4 p.m., and River Ridge High School students will receive their diplomas at 8 p.m.

Etowah High School's graduation will be at 4 p.m. on Friday, May 24. Woodstock High School's will be the same day at 8 p.m.

Finally, on Saturday, May 25, Creekview High School students will graduate at 9 a.m., and Cherokee High School will have its ceremony at 1 p.m.

First Baptist Church of Woodstock is located at 11905 Highway 92.

Chick-fil-A Daddy-Daughter Date Night returns in 2013

Chick-fil-A Daddy-Daughter Date Night returns in 2013

ATLANTA -- Chick-fil-A's wildly popular Daddy-Daughter Date Night will return in February.

More than 100 Atlanta- and Athens-area Chick-fil-A restaurants will host the event on Saturday, Feb. 2 from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Every couple in attendance will receive an activity sheet with conversation topics and a booklet called "Continuing the Conversation," which gives the dads and daughters suggestions for getting to know each other better.

"One of Chick-fil-A's goals is to promote community connections and enrich the lives of everyone we serve," Chick-fil-A area marketing director Robin Lomax said in a statement. "We understand the importance of father-daughter relationships and want to encourage dads to take a break from busy schedules, enjoy their daughters' company over a meal and have fun."

Hundreds attend AKA peace rally

Hundreds attend AKA peace rally

ATLANTA -- More than 200 metro Atlanta middle school students attended a peace rally and workshop hosted by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. over the weekend.

The rally was a kickoff for 40 Days of Peace, which begins Monday. 40 Days of Peace is a commitment to kindness and service that encourages young people to follow in the footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

At Saturday's rally, speakers encouraged attendees to stop bullying and stay out of gangs. Police officers gave a presentation on how to interact with law enforcement.

A concurrent workshop for the parents in attendance focused on implementing strategies to keep children safe and on the right track in life.

AKA holding peace rally for middle school students

AKA holding peace rally for middle school students

ATLANTA -- Members of metro Atlanta's chapters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority will hold a peace rally and workshop for middle school students over the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday weekend.

The event will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 19 at the Ivy Community Center in southwest Atlanta. It is part of the 40 Days of Peace project, which aims to spread service and kindness through the country.

The peace rally and workshop will aim to teach young people about Dr. King's mission, and to raise awareness of crime and crime prevention strategies. Law enforcement members will also give an interactive presentation to encourage children to stamp out gangs and bullying.

Middle school students from several metro Atlanta counties -- Cobb, Cherokee, Clayton, Coweta, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Hall, Henry, Paulding and Rockdale -- are expected to participate.