Tiffanie is Hope

After the passing of her only daughter Tiffanie due to Rett Syndrome, author/educator Stephanie Gives-Winckler created the Tiffanie Nina Simone Foundation in 2015 to spread hope to children with special needs and bring Rett Syndrome awareness to the community. Upon establishing the foundation, Stephanie published children’s book “The Best Girlfriends Ever.” This was written in honor of Tiffanie and the RS community.
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The Best Girlfriends Ever

was inspired by Stephanie’s late daughter, Tiffanie Nina Simone Hayes, who passed away in 2011 due to complications with Rett Syndrome. The children’s picture book brings awareness to Rett Syndrome while advocating for acceptance and compassion.

Tiffanie and her Friends

About the Book

“The Best Girlfriends Ever” was inspired by Stephanie’s late daughter, Tiffanie Nina Simone Hayes, who passed away in 2011 due to complications with Rett Syndrome. Gives-Winckler was inspired to write the book as a way to fill a void from Tiffanie’s passing, bring her back to life through stories relative to the time she was alive and bring awareness to Rett Syndrome.

The plot of the book involves Tiffanie’s real life friends, referred to as the ‘Devine Sisters’ in the book, who are angels in disguise accompanying Tiffanie on a summer adventure. Reflecting on her own childhood friends that have bonded together for over thirty years, Gives-Winckler decided for her book to center around Tiffanie and her girlfriends’ long-lasting friendship and teach girls to provide endless support to each other that helps nourish companionship for decades. “I had all these pictures of Tiffanie and her girlfriends going on different trips and I had pictures of myself and my girlfriends as we go on different trips every year and I took some of the pictures and I just thought of illustrating from them. So, a lot of the pictures in the book are from trips that Tiffanie had taken and also some trips that I had taken from my girlfriends and I had just compiled them and I just started writing and two days later I had a story.” “The Best Girlfriend’s Ever” also highlights what it’s like living with Rett Syndrome as a child and encourages acceptance. Gives-Winckler’s hope is to empower all girls to unite on one accord and experience the joy and power of friendship in their lives.

“I want to show how girls can and should build each other up and not tear one another down. I want children who have special needs or health challenges to understand that they too can live a quality life surrounded by peers and family that accept them for who they are,” Gives-Winckler declares.

“The Best Girlfriends Ever” is AVAILABLE NOW and can be found on display at the Richland County Public Library in downtown Columbia, South Carolina.

Stephanie Gives-Winckler is also in the process of turning “The Best Girlfriends Ever” into a play on the heels of her two forthcoming children’s books entitled, “Mommy and Me Under the Magnolia Tree” and “When One Sunflower Grows in The Bronx.”

About The Author

Stephanie Gives-Winckler

Stephanie Gives-Winckler is an educator, artist, illustrator, speaker and the mother of Tiffanie Nina Simone Hayes. Stephanie was born in NYC and as a little girl growing up in the Bronx is where she developed a love for drawing. Inspired by the NYC graffiti of her enviroment, she was fancinated by the bold, vibrant colors of the city's urban landscape. Throughout her education, Stephanie always excelled in the arts and is a proud 1982 graduate of Central Islip High School. In 2005 she received her Associates of Arts degree from Midlands Technicial College and is currently an educator at Kathwood Preschool in Columbia, South Carolina. After the passing of her only child, Tiffanie, a foundation was created in Tiffanie's name to give back to the community in her honor. Dreams of Becoming a Better Me - The Tiffanie Nina Simone Foundation was established in 2015 to help inspire children to see their value no matter what circumstances they were dealing with at the moment. The foundation is also used to bring awareness to the disorder, Rett Syndrome which is a progressive, genetic disorder that affects girls and boys at the beginning stages of infancy and currently there is no known cure for (RS). Stephanie is working on her two upcoming children's books entitled, " Mommy and Me Under the Magnolia Tree" and When One Sunflower Grows In The Bronx". As of 2016, Stephanie married the love of her life and now her new name is Mrs. Gives-Winckler.

Behind "The Best Girlfriends Ever"

About Rett Syndrome

Rett Syndrome (RS) is a debilitating neurological disorder that predominantly affects females. It is the leading genetic cause of severe impairment in girls, brought on by a single gene mutation that leads to underproduction of an important brain protein. After giving birth to her daughter at a later age in life, Gives-Winckler knew birth defects were a high possibility. It wasn’t until signs of Tiffanie’s motor skills slowly disintegrating that led to a blood test by geneticists which diagnosed her with RS at age three. Before her passing at age fourteen, Tiffanie left a large impact on her mother that sparked confidence on her once low self-esteem mother. “She really inspired me [through] little things like her doctor said she would never go to college and I said, ‘Well if she’s not going to college then I will go for her,’…I was doing things I wasn’t supposed to be doing. She just inspired me to be more comfortable with who I was and not what other people expected me to be.”

However, Tiffanie is not alone in her book as her mother includes her own special memories of her friends in her book.

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