“Happy Birthday!” It is a sentiment always associated with joy and smiles. For Brayden, those are two of the few words he frequently expresses to others. Brayden is a 10 year old boy who was born with Down syndrome and at the age of 5 was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Brayden has never walked nor crawled. The muscular dystrophy turned his feet inward, altered his joints, stiffened his body, and continues to cause deterioration in his muscles. Without a cure, the “family is now focused on helping Brayden live his life to the fullest.”
Brayden is a fulltime wheelchair user. His mom, Christine, is a single parent of three boys. As a parent of active children, she was finding it increasingly difficult to manage transporting her growing son along with the other children to the activities they love to participate in. “ I can give my family all my heart, resources, time, and support, but the purchase of a wheelchair accessible can is well beyond what my means can provide.” Brayden has often missed his brother’s hockey games, community events, friends’ birthday parties, and medical appointments. Not having a suitable vehicle has limited the ability for this family to have spontaneous family fun, to take family holidays and vacations, and to participate in many everyday activities together.
Christine says, “Brayden’s diagnoses have hampered his mobility, added pain and frustration to his daily life, and limited his life activities and experiences, but never have they deterred his positive and sweet nature.”
Brayden’s contagiously pleasant disposition has made him well loved in their northern Alberta community - so much so that local students have pitched in with donations of allowance and birthday money, held bake sales, and encouraged others to make private donations to assist in the purchase of a fully adapted van for his family (Total cost $42,000). The students at Brayden’s school truly have lived up to their motto “Helping EVERY child learn and succeed. Education with a heart!”
The Children’s Ability Fund provided a grant of $10,000 toward the purchase of this new vehicle has helped their school and community reach their goal of the purchase of a new, fully accessible, van for Brayden and his family. The van arrived just before the end of the school year so all of the students at Brayden’s school could celebrate with him at his “Birthday party”.
Christine is so happy, “Brayden can now lead his life to the fullest with more freedom, independence and joy.”