Manchester mother’s mission to raise awareness for son’s rare disorder

Remarkable Women

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — As we approach International Women’s Month in March, we are highlighting four women doing incredible things for the Middle Tennessee community and beyond in our Remarkable Women series.

They are finalists for a trip to see a taping of The Mel Robbins Show in New York. The winner will be considered for our parent company, Nexstar Media’s nationwide 2020 Woman of the Year award.

Our first nominee is Tiffany Hoyne, who opened a boutique in Manchester in honor of her 8-year-old son Connor. It’s called Reese’s Genes boutique and we’re not talking about denim.

“We named the business after him, Reese’s Genes,” Hoyne said. “Reese is his middle name and genes is spelled g-e-n-e-s. We named it that so that people would ask what is Reese’s Genes? Who’s Reese?”

Genes refer to a rare genetic disorder her son was born with called galactosemia. 

“My little boy does not have the enzyme to break down lactose or galactose, so he’s on a very strict diet.” Hoyne said. “If he consumes lactose or galactose, it can lead to kidney failure, liver failure, and brain damage. But also with the disease, he has developmental delays; he’s been in speech therapy since he was about a year old.”

Connor has also been in occupational therapy since he was about 16 months old. Caring for her son made it nearly impossible for Hoyne to continue her career.

“I decided to quit my job so that he was able to get those therapies and go to school. At the time I was also trying to raise money for galactosemia and raise awareness, so I thought why not start a business, name it after him, raise awareness but also find a way to make money?”

Hoyne hosts multiple fundraising drives and events each year to go toward research and treatment. So far, she’s raised about $20,000 over the past four years.

“Galactosemia is considered an orphan disease, which means there is very little funding from the government, so most of the money raised is from parents. I wanted to do something to get the awareness out there and help in anyway we can,” Hoyne said.

It’s not just that cause, Hoyne is passionate about helping others in Coffee County. She hosts backpack drives, participates in Stuff the Bus and sponsors events for the Dusty Elam Foundation, which serves those with special needs. Giving back is in her DNA.

“My grandma and my mom were that way, and I think growing up with that, as I’ve gotten older, it just becomes who we are,” Hoyne said.

And who she wants her son to grow up to be as well.

“We went the nursing home and we’ve done several things for school, but I like to try to get him involved,” Hoyne said. “I tell him what we’re doing and why because some kids are in need or we’re just trying to help somebody.”

She has helped more than just somebody. Her influence has likely reached tens of thousands. And that’s what makes Tiffany Hoyne a Remarkable Woman.

Remarkable Women is part of a nationwide Nexstar Media initiative to honor the influence that women have had on public policy, social progress and the quality of life.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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