KARES Foundation Family Day

June 8, 2023

Before Candlelight Ranch was the organization it is today, before it was owned by the Barr Family and its mission envisioned; Candlelight Ranch was home to the Turner Family. Generations of the Turner Family sustained themselves from the land and lived amongst its natural springs and remote hill country beauty. Recently, an incredible connection was made through the Ranch that brought both the granddaughter of the Turner Family, Corey Moss, and the KARES Foundation together on a mission to help her family find hope for their son’s diagnosis of KDM5C.

Corey Moss grew up visiting her grandfather each summer on the property now known as Candlelight Ranch. As a child, she played in the canyon, swam in the lake and drank from the natural springs. On a recent visit to learn more about Candlelight Ranch and the property to see what her family’s generational home had become, Corey was introduced to the non-profit CC4C which was visiting the Ranch for a Family Day. CC4C (Cheyanna’s Champion’s 4 Children) is an Austin based non-profit organization dedicated to providing resources to families of children with rare and undiagnosed diseases. This serendipitous connection opened a door of hope and healing for Corey’s son, Austin, who after many doctors’ visits and numerous misdiagnoses was finally given a diagnosis of a rare genetic disorder, KDM5C in 2021 at age 3. With only 100 individuals diagnosed with KDM5C in the world, research on this disorder is not only minimal but also rarely funded. CC4C was able to link Corey and her family to an exceptional organization the KARES Foundation whose mission is to improve the lives of those affected by KDM5C genetic variants through advocacy, research, education and support for affected individuals and families. Corey became a fast advocate for the KARES Foundation, active on the foundation’s Facebook support group and incredibly passionate about spreading awareness about KDM5C. Through Corey’s connection with the history of the land Candlelight Ranch calls home and her personal fight to advocate for her son, Corey linked the families of the KARES Foundation to the Ranch for a weekend escape into the outdoors.

Families joined together at Candlelight Ranch from across the US and as far away as Idaho, to unwind in nature and find connection with each other. Our adaptive climbing wall, ziplines, therapy horse, donkey and a very impactful journey across Carolyn’s Canyon Crawl made lasting memories and opportunities for life lessons for all who participated. One young lady experienced a powerful walk across the Canyon. Whitney, age 17, diagnosed with KDM5C at age 13 began her day believing it would be impossible to make it across the canyon on our 225 feet cable bridge suspended 80 feet in the air. Due to her diagnosis, Whitney struggles with sustaining grip with her hands. However, after a successful climb on the rock wall, and encouraged by peers and family, Whitney found a new confidence in giving the Canyon Crawl a try. Whitney not only attempted this brave walk but completed it! She surprised herself and her family and found that she could push herself beyond the capacity she thought she was capable of. Whitney reflected on what she learned, stating, “I overcame my fears, I did the canyon crawl and I’m afraid of heights” she also included “I learned it can be easy to talk to others”.

Through this story, we are reminded of the impact connections can make and how one positive experience can open the door for so many others to be created. We are so very thankful to Corey Moss for connecting the families of the KARES Foundation with the Ranch and to the Tuner Family for the legacy they leave in the healing land our organization calls home.