“He ended up having several of the balls in his room, and one day he decided he wanted to give one to one of the little girls he saw in the hall all the time, another patient. He enjoyed giving her one of his beach balls so much, he made me go to the store to buy more beach balls so he could give them to all the other kids on his unit. He told every visitor that they were invited to a big cookout after he got home, which was news to us. Then when we got home and we were planning his party, he decided he wanted everyone who came to bring beach balls to donate to Riley.”
They ended up collecting 165 beach balls and delivered them to the Child Life Department there.
Kevin says Braden’s journey has just begun, as he’ll face countless more surgeries and other issues along the way.
“It’s hard to really think about how his condition has affected our lifestyle, as it seems that this is just what life is like,” he said. “Our everyday normal as a family may seem overwhelming from the outside looking in, but to us it’s just life. Our family has been through quite a bit over the last 10 years and we have a true appreciation for the people at Riley Hospital.”
Kevin said they share their story in an effort to help create more knowledge and research for spina bifida, as October is it’s awareness month. There is no known cause of spina bifida, though there are identified possible genetic factors.
In addition to his Coin Toss Kid status for the weekend, Braden and his family will get limousine transportation to the game at Lucas Oil Stadium. He’ll also receive an autographed Colts photo and personalized jersey.
“Braden is an amazing boy that hasn’t let his condition define him or slow him down one bit,” Kevin said. “He’s an extremely social and engaging boy that loves to talk, make new friends, and be involved in whatever he can.”
To learn more about the Nathan’s Playroom charity, visit the website at nathansplayroom.org or e-mail Kevin at admin@NathansPlayroom.org.