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About Kelly May Howard- Browne Kelly May Howard-Browne was a sweet and charismatic young lady, born with a beautiful voice, a musical ear and the heart of a warrior. Unfortunately she was also born with Cystic Fibrosis (CF), a terminal and, as yet, incurable disease. She fought bravely to live, but lost her battle with CF on Christmas Day 2002. She died in her parent’s arms at 4:37 a.m. at the age of 18 years, 1 month and 25 days. Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease affecting approximately 30,000 children and adults in the United States. A genetic defect causes the body to produce an abnormally thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections. These thick secretions also obstruct the pancreas, preventing digestive enzymes from reaching the intestines to help break down and absorb food. More than 10 million Americans are unknowing, symptom less carriers of the defective CF gene. An individual must inherit two defective CF genes–one from each parent–to have CF. CF occurs in approximately one of every 3,200 live Caucasian births (in one of every 3,900 live births of all Americans). About 1,000 new cases of CF are diagnosed each year. Kelly May was born with a gift that required strong, healthy lungs, but her life was a constant struggle with lung infections, making it difficult and then later impossible for her to sing the songs that were in her heart. In spite of this, she loved to sing and sing she did, a lot, from an early age. Before she could talk, she was singing. Even though she struggled daily to breathe; and endured many hours of uncomfortable medical treatments and regular stays in the hospital as she battled lung infections; she never complained about her situation. Kelly May tried her best to keep up with everyone else. She traveled with her parents, Rodney and Adonica Howard-Browne, and her siblings, Kirsten (23 months older) and Kenneth (2 ½ years younger), around the world, to five continents and about fifteen countries. She packed a lot of living into her 18 years! Kelly never lived her life as if she was going to die, but as if she was going to live forever. Kelly’s vision was to be a missionary – to travel internationally and to establish hospitals, orphanages, and churches – a big vision for a petite girl. There is no doubt that with her excellent pitch, sweet voice and determined personality, Kelly would have achieved her dreams if she had had more time. Cystic Fibrosis cut her life short, but it did not defeat her spirit. Her parents, who started in ministry in 1980, founded a global ministry organization, Revival Ministries International, in order to carry out missions work on every continent. They are South Africans who have been based in the United States of America since December 1987. They spend about 46 weeks out of the year traveling around America and nations on every continent, bringing revival to churches and conducting mass soul-winning outreaches. In addition, they pastor a church that they founded in Tampa, Florida, called The River at Tampa Bay, and a bible school called the River Bible Institute. The church and the bible school are extremely missions-minded and have sent out hundreds of people into full-time ministry. Many of them still consider The River their church home as they travel internationally spreading the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Rodney and Adonica have also given hundreds of thousands of dollars to other ministries and organizations, including Acres of Love. The River at Tampa Bay was one of the first supporters of Acres of Love and has been a generous monthly supporter since the establishment of the first Forever Home. When Kelly May passed away, Ryan and Gerda felt in their hearts that it would be fitting to name the transition home that rescues the vulnerable babies and children after Kelly May. The Acres of Love Kelly May Howard- Browne Child Enrichment centre is dedicated to her memory. It is our prayer that every child who walks through the doors of the Kelly May Howard-Brown Child Enrichment Centre will find healing, hope and love. Though children may enter with hearts that have been broken by all that they have seen in their young lives, it is the expectation of Acres of Love that they will find a place of grace, life, hope and unconditional love that Kelly May embodied and dreamed of for children all over the world. Her passion lives on in the smiles, laughter, and joyful songs of each and every child who is rescued and given back their childhood at Acres of Love.
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