17-year-old Brady is described by his mother, Melissa, as “the kindest, most happy person you would ever meet.”
“He always has a smile, he’s always willing to help someone. He’s always friendly. He’s a person who actually likes himself,” she said.
Brady has Cerebral Palsy as well as a rare, progressive genetic disorder called hereditary spastic paraplegia. He has been through a lot in his 17 years, including seven spinal surgeries in the past year alone. Through it all, Melissa says Brady is a tough kid who maintains a positive attitude.
“Anything he has to go through, he gets through it, and he doesn’t really complain or anything like that,” she said.
As a result of Brady’s surgeries that helped straighten his spine, he gained six inches in height, making it impossible for Melissa to transport him in their old wheelchair accessible vehicle. She recently started a fundraiser on social media in the hopes of raising enough money to buy a new van, not only to get Brady to his doctor’s appointments but to improve his quality of life as well.
“Due to the lack of transportation, Brady has missed out on so much in the last year,” she said. “He hasn’t been able to go to the county fair this year, which he loves to do every year, or go see the fireworks on the 4th of July. He missed out on going with his family on their annual trip in June to Columbus to watch his Aunt Wendy participate in the Special Olympics. He wasn’t able to go to Kings Island with his cousins and enjoy the water park. He used to visit his Grandma, who he loves so so much, every Sunday but hasn’t been able to visit her in almost a year. He can only stay home.”
She continued, “He can’t even do simple everyday things like go to the park or go to a restaurant or just go get an ice cream sundae. He is such a wonderful special boy. My heart aches not being able to provide him a way to enjoy life. Also, as a result of not having a wheelchair van, he currently can’t even go home sick from school or participate in after school clubs like robotics and Kiwanis Club where he enjoys volunteering in the community. Brady plays on a wheelchair football team, but attending the games presents a challenge with no reliable way to get there. He has enough challenges as it is.”
Through a rental from MobilityWorks, Melissa and Brady were recently able to visit family from Minnesota that they had not seen in years. While the rental offered a short-term way to get around safely and comfortably, Melissa knows that an accessible van of their own would change their lives.
“It would take away all that stress. It would just be so much easier, we could just get in and go,” she said. “We’re just really nice, simple people and we never ask for much. We don’t have a lot, we go month-to-month, pinching pennies. A van would be like a miracle.”
To learn more about Brady’s story and his family’s fundraising efforts, click here.
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