October 30, 2020

‘Spirit Night’ at Hometown Pizza raises funds for local teen

Caden Raines (R) with his sister Alexis Raines. The HHS sophomore has shown much improvement after battling a rare and painful illness for the past few weeks.

(Franklin, GA) — Heard High School sophomore baseball player Caden Raines is at home and steadily improving after being released from the hospital a couple of weeks ago.

Caden was hospitalized at Children’s healthcare of Atlanta for several weeks after being stricken with a very rare illness known as Stevens–Johnson syndrome.

Stevens-Johnson syndrome is a rare, serious disorder of the skin and mucous membranes.

It’s usually caused by a reaction to a medication or an infection and in this case it appears to have resulted from a new acne medication.

Often, SJS begins with flu-like symptoms, followed by a painful red or purplish rash that spreads and blisters. Then the top layer of the affected skin dies, sheds and then heals.

Caden still faces a long road to a full recovery but has improved greatly over the past few days and may be able to return to school by early January if not sooner.

The local community has rallied in a big way to help the family out during this medical crisis and the family is very thankful for the support. A ‘Spirit Night’ at Hometown Pizza last week raised over $8,000 to help the family with medical and other expenses.

Hometown Pizza employees work hard to fill orders on Caden Raines Spirit Night last week (Photo: Angie McCullough)

The local restaurant donated 20% of sales that night to Caden and his family and the restaurant was swamped with orders for the entire night.

Several other local businesses matched the restaurants’ donation.

Caden’s mom has been overwhelmed by the support from the Heard County community.

“We are so amazed and truly grateful for everything that has been done for our family. The way our community, family, friends, and work families have shown up and showed out has just been unbelievable,” says Rhonda Raines.

“We can’t thank everyone enough for Spirit Night at Hometown Pizza. We were told how busy it was and we just can’t say thank you enough to all the employees there and also our friends that jumped in and helped as well as all the businesses that matched donations — I wish there was a way everyone knew just how deeply we appreciate everything.”

One of the most heartfelt donations came from Heard High icon Edward Potts who donated some of the money left over from a benefit to raise money for a new golf cart for him after he crashed his last month.

Rhonda says the school has been especially helpful and thoughtful during the tough times they have experienced with Caden’s illness.

“Caden’s school has been wonderful from their own fundraising to just wanting to check on him so often. Parents don’t realize how hard our schools teachers, administrators and staff work for our community and we’re so thankful for their positive influence they have on not just my kids but all of our kids. Edward Potts’ donation was so heartfelt but everyone that’s had the pleasure of knowing him already knows what a kind and giving spirit he is,” says Rhonda Raines.

A fellow Brave baseball mom Angie McCullough was the primary organizer of the ‘Spirit Night’ fundraiser and is also thankful for the tremendous community support.

“Once again I am Heard County proud,” says McCullough. “There is no better place to live than right here in our small town — thanks to everyone who joined our efforts to help our fellow Braves family although thank you just seems inadequate.”

Businesses that contributed to the Raines family through the Spirit Night fundraiser included Hometown Pizza, Newnan Bonding Co., Marsh Siding, Hayes Computers, Terry Harper’s State Farm Insurance, Carroll EMC, Ash Kickers Vape Shop, and Clark’s Trucking Company.

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