A Snow Hill Elementary student born with a rare skin disease has a lot of support from her school, but there’s one man who goes the extra mile.
Hanna Barrott, 6, is a kindergarten student who loves art, dancing and spending time with friends.
What’s unique about Hanna is that she suffers from an unusual genetic skin condition.
“It's called Ichthyosis. There are actually over 25 specific types. Her specific type is Lamellar,” said Hanna’s mom, Megan Barrott.
The rare disease means the little girl’s skin grows seven times faster than normal.
The temperature inside her classroom can’t exceed 75-degrees or it can be dangerous for Hanna.
That’s where the school’s air conditioner man comes in.
His name is Larry Gossett. He is the HVAC Foreman for Hamilton County Schools’ Maintenance Department.
“He has treated her like a grandfather would. He comes in all the time to check on the room to make sure the temperature is ok,” Barrott told Channel 3.
Gossett has checked the temperature of Hanna’s classroom every day this school year. He’s installed extra air conditioners to make sure it’s cool enough and the two have formed a special bond.
After 30 years of service, Gossett is retiring next month.
Wednesday afternoon, Hanna and her classmates threw him a surprise retirement party at school.
“It's a great surprise. I really don't feel like I've done anything special. We're here to take care of kids at Hamilton County Schools and that's what we're doing. Hanna has really touched my heart. She's a beautiful young lady. She's colored pictures for me and written notes, given me presents and she's very appreciative for what you do for her,” said Gossett.
Hanna and her parents are thankful for him.
“It means there is a lot more good in the world than I have thought in the past and it gives me a lot of hope for her future and it makes me feel very grateful to live in this community to know so many people love and support her and love our family,” said Barrott.
Even though he’s retiring, Gossett assures the family Hanna will continue to be cared for by the school system’s maintenance department. He says they’re already making plans to add more air conditioners to her new classroom next year.
Hanna’s mother says she would like to share some information about Ichthyosis with others.
“It is not contagious and it is ok to ask what is wrong with her and why she looks different. We appreciate when people ask us and approach us instead of staring. It helps Hanna relax and it helps me teach her to own what she has because she has to live with it for the rest of her life. When she is comfortable with it, everybody can be comfortable with it,” Barrott told Channel 3.
Barrott says the disease affects just one in every 250,000 people.