Q: Recently, you donated $1 million to Baptist Hospital to establish the Sherry Kranys Children’s Innovation Fund. What inspired you?
A: I have been blessed with nine beautiful grandchildren; two overcame great challenges before becoming healthy, successful 17-year-olds. James is affected by Asperger’s Syndrome, a high functioning form of Autism. His superior intellect allowed him to read on an adult level at age 4, but he was often bullied and had difficulty navigating school and social norms. I want to help find the answers to help others with all levels of Autism. Kendall was born at Baptist weighing only 2-1/2 pounds. She spent many weeks in the NICU and survived with no residual effects. While I do not remember the name of the baby next to her, nor the name of the mother who sat by the incubator every day, I will never forget seeing that empty incubator, feeling the sadness in the atmosphere and realizing what that meant. No mother should ever have to leave the hospital with empty arms.
Q: What other charities are you involved in?
A: I sponsor a project in North Carolina through the Autism Foundation of the Carolinas, I volunteer each year on a build for Habitat for Humanity, and I financially support Miami Lighthouse for the Blind, Miami Rescue Mission, Camillus House, The Salvation Army, The Heffer Project, Smile Train, World Vision, Shake-a-Leg, Children’s Home Society, Kristi House and others.
Q: What draws you to children’s charities?
A: I love children and cannot bear to see them suffer. I spent my adult life as a full-time mother raising four daughters and in the process was exposed to many heart- wrenching situations. I am always struck by how courageous and resilient children are. My daughters are the light of my life and have grown into four kind, caring and extremely altruistic women.
Q: Who inspires you?
A: My parents, children and grandchildren. It is easy to give when you have a lot, but my parents grew up during the Great Depression and gave when they had nothing. Back in the 1980’s I asked my children not to buy me Christmas presents but instead to do something for someone else. My third daughter, a college student, taught an elderly, indigent man to read. My grandchildren also inspire. Skylar grows her
beautiful hair long so she can cut it and donate it to Locks of Love. Kirkland, 5, and James, 7, had a lemonade stand to raise money for the victims of the tsunami of December 2004. When that did not prove lucrative, they sold some of their Christmas toys. This selfless act inspires me to this day.
Q: What would people be surprised to know about you?
A: I have a pilot’s license, and I once went to Russia and flew a MIG 29 fighter jet. I flew upside down above the Moscow River, broke the sound barrier at Mach 2.3 and did barrel rolls, loops and even a tail slide, a wild maneuver that is not allowed in this country because of the danger.
Q: Anything else you want to share?
A: I would like to stress that my donation to Baptist Hospital is offered as a matching gift, which means any amount donated to this Children’s Innovation Fund will be doubled.
1. Favorite way to unwind? Spending a quiet evening at home with Lindsay, the man I share my life with; spending time laughing with my daughters or watching my grandchildren swim and play at my summer home in Pennsylvania.
2. Favorite restaurant in Miami? The Palme d’Or at the Biltmore Hotel.
3. Favorite place to travel? Italy and France – the art museums are fantastic and I love the food in both countries.