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Sophia’s wheels: Born with a rare condition, girl depends on family, community who have rallied around her

Dania Maxwell/Staff
Upon arrival at Tanglewood Elementary School in Fort Myers, Toni Hanko lifts her daughter Sophia out of the backseat of the car and into a wheelchair. Sophia was born with cerebral palsy, a result of a shared umbilical cord, known as twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. Her twin sister, Gina was not affected. The family hopes to fundraise enough money to transport Sophia in a van.

Photo by DANIA MAXWELL

Dania Maxwell/Staff Upon arrival at Tanglewood Elementary School in Fort Myers, Toni Hanko lifts her daughter Sophia out of the backseat of the car and into a wheelchair. Sophia was born with cerebral palsy, a result of a shared umbilical cord, known as twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. Her twin sister, Gina was not affected. The family hopes to fundraise enough money to transport Sophia in a van.

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  • Dania Maxwell/Staff
At dawn, Toni Hanko pulls her daughter, Sophia's, 12, hair back into a high pony-tale in their home in Fort Myers, Fla. Toni has found that the taut hair style works best for Sophia who was born with cerebral palsy, a result of a shared umbilical cord, known as twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. Sophia's twin sister, Gina was not affected. Sophia is in constant need of assistance. Toni has assumed the primary caregiving responsibilities.
  • Dania Maxwell/Staff
At dawn, Toni Hanko pulls her daughter, Sophia's, 12, hair back into a high pony-tale in their home in Fort Myers, Fla. Toni has found that the taut hair style works best for Sophia who was born with cerebral palsy, a result of a shared umbilical cord, known as twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. Sophia's twin sister, Gina was not affected. Sophia is in constant need of assistance. Toni has assumed the primary caregiving responsibilities.
  • Dania Maxwell/Staff
Toni Hanko reaches her hand across to hold her daughter, Sophia's hand. Sophia, a twin to her sister Gina, was born with cerebral palsy, a result of a shared umbilical cord, known as twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. Although Gina was not affected, Sophia is in constant need of assistance. Toni has fully embraced tending to her every need.
  • Dania Maxwell/Staff
Family photographs of the Hanko family are posted to the fridge of their home in Fort Myers. Toni Hanko considers all three of her daughters gifts. She says that her daughter Sophia, 12, who was born with cerebral palsy, has strengthened her faith in God. Toni is the primary caregiver for Sophia. She tends to her every need.
  • Dania Maxwell/Staff
At dawn, Toni Hanko feeds her daughter, Sophia, 12, homemade formula while in their home in Fort Myers, Fla. Sophia, a twin to her sister Gina, was born with cerebral palsy, a result of a shared umbilical cord, known as twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. Although Gina was not affected, Sophia is in constant need of assistance. Toni has assumed the primary caregiving responsibilities.
  • Dania Maxwell/Staff
At dawn, Toni Hanko feeds her daughter, Sophia, 12, homemade formula while in their home in Fort Myers, Fla. Sophia, a twin to her sister Gina, was born with cerebral palsy, a result of a shared umbilical cord, known as twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. Although Gina was not affected, Sophia is in constant need of assistance. Toni has assumed the primary caregiving responsibilities.
  • Dania Maxwell/Staff
Gina Hanko, center, sits at the dining table eating pancakes for breakfast while her twin sister Sophia, left, has just finished a feeding of homemade formula given to her through a feeding tube held by her mother Toni, right. Sophia was born with cerebral palsy, a result of a shared umbilical cord, known as twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. Her twin sister, Gina was not affected. Sophia is in constant need of assistance. Toni has assumed the primary caregiving responsibilities.
  • Dania Maxwell/Staff
Toni Hanko reaches her hand across to touch her daughter, Sophia, 12. Sophia, a twin to her sister Gina, was born with cerebral palsy, a result of a shared umbilical cord, known as twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. Although Gina was not affected, Sophia is in constant need of assistance. Toni tends to her every need.
  • Dania Maxwell/Staff
Toni Hanko dresses her daughter, Sophia's, 12, for school while in their home in Fort Myers, Fla. Sophia was born with cerebral palsy, a result of a shared umbilical cord, known as twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. Sophia's twin sister, Gina was not affected. Sophia is in constant need of assistance. Toni has assumed the primary caregiving responsibilities.
  • Dania Maxwell/Staff
Markings on a wall reflect the height of members of the Hanko family.
  • Dania Maxwell/Staff
Toni Hanko pulls her daughter, Sophia, towards the car outside her home in Fort Myers. Sophia's twin sister, Gina, and her father Joe, follow closely behind. The morning routine starts at 5:30 a.m. when Toni dresses and puts Sophia in her wheelchair. At 7:00 a.m. Toni begins a 40-mile trek to get her twins to school.
  • Dania Maxwell/Staff
Toni Hanko kisses her husband, Joe, goodbye before beginning a 40-mile trek to get her twins to school in Fort Myers. Toni's daughter, Sophia, sits in a car seat that she has outgrown. Sophia was born with cerebral palsy, a result of a shared umbilical cord, known as twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. Her twin sister Gina was not affected.  The family hopes to fundraise enough money to transport Sophia in a van.
  • Dania Maxwell/Staff
Toni Hanko, left, drives 40-miles to get her twin daughter's Gina, right, and Sophia, off right, to school in Fort Myers. Toni's daughter, Sophia, sits in a car seat that she has outgrown. Sophia was born with cerebral palsy, a result of a shared umbilical cord, known as twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. Gina was not affected. The family hopes to fundraise enough money to transport Sophia in a van.
  • Dania Maxwell/Staff
Gina Hanko, 12, says goodbye to her mom, Toni, and twin sister Sophia, right, before walking into school at St. Francis in Fort Myers. Sophia was born with cerebral palsy, a result of a shared umbilical cord, known as twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. Gina was not affected.  The family hopes to fundraise enough money to transport Sophia in a van.
  • Dania Maxwell/Staff
Upon arrival at Tanglewood Elementary School in Fort Myers, Toni Hanko lifts her daughter Sophia out of the backseat of the car and into a wheelchair. Sophia was born with cerebral palsy, a result of a shared umbilical cord, known as twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. Her twin sister, Gina was not affected. The family hopes to fundraise enough money to transport Sophia in a van.
  • Dania Maxwell/Staff
Toni Hanko pushes her daughter, Sophia, to a special needs class at Tanglewood Elementary School in Fort Myers. Sophia was born with cerebral palsy, a result of a shared umbilical cord, known as twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. Her twin sister, Gina was not affected. Two times a day during the school week, Toni makes a 40-mile trek to get her twins to and from school.

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