MILLEDGEVILLE — Brody Jackson’s life worries should revolve around playing and keeping a smile on his face, but the 19-month-old requires around-the-clock care and his neurologist is only giving him a 20 percent chance of ever walking.
“We adopted Brody and his sister Hope at birth. Brody was born at 31 weeks premature and only weighing right at 3 pounds. Right after birth he suffered from respiratory distress, and they sent him to the nearest NICU; he fought for over a month in the NICU. He stayed on a ventilator and PICC Line until he gained some weight,” Brody’s mother, Leigh, said. “Then he was diagnosed with PVL, severe brain damage causing white matter all over the brain. He is diagnosed with PVL, spastic cerebral palsy and is bilaterally blind.”
Brody visits his physical therapist and doctors in Atlanta and Macon a couple times per week. He needs to undergo several surgeries, including one to help loosen up his muscle tone. Many of the procedures his condition require are not covered by insurance.
“He’s not doing very well right now. He hasn’t gained weight and he may have to have a feeding tube if he doesn’t gain weight,” said Lauren Goebel, friend of the Jackson family. “He is starting to make sound, but he’s just not catching up as quickly as we had hoped.”
In an effort to help Brody gain strength to be able to hold his upper body up, the Jacksons hope to purchase a gait trainer through proceeds raised during the “A Walk for Brody” event from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Oconee River Greenway. For $5 per person with a maximum of $15 per family, youth and parents are welcome to enjoy activities, games, food and meet Brody and his family.
“We will have a raffle, which includes two computer virus cleanups from Cogentes, Charmed Salon and Spa is donating a basket, ChatterBox Designs is donating items, Studio One, or now known as The Vibe, is giving a month of free dance, and Elite Gym is donating a birthday party,” Goebel said. “From 8 to 9 a.m. will be registration and the walk will begin at 9 o’clock. From 10 a.m. to noon, there will be games, coloring, face painting, Mark The Magic Man, a fire truck, police car and ambulance.”
T-shirts, bracelets and car decals will be sold during the event to support the cost of Brody’s needs.
“Depending on how much we raise, the money will go toward medical bills, a gait trainer and surgeries that he can have, but insurance won’t pay for it. We are also hoping to get him braces for his legs. Our number one goal we want to accomplish is raise $1,200 to purchase a gait trainer so he can sit up and help him to hopefully walk one day,” Goebel said. “We’re hoping to have a lot of special needs children at the event. I hope this will bring everybody together to help raise awareness.”
Brody was selected to receive $500 through Louie Herron Toyota’s Love Bucket in September.
“One local family purchased Brody’s special needs stroller. Gamma Sigma Sigma at Georgia College has been awesome in helping us with this fundraiser. The nursing students are going to come volunteer Saturday as well,” Goebel said. “Brody is just a really sweet, calm-natured little boy. You can tell he tries really hard to pay attention and he has all of these things working against him, but you can feel his spirit pushing through.”
For more information about the event, to purchase T-shirts in advance, or to make a monetary donation, visit www.brodyslove.com.
“We want Brody to walk and be able to play with other children. Even though he has no vision, we still want him to enjoy his life. I think we all need to give this little boy a chance as we did,” Leigh said. “We love [Brody and Hope] dearly and want the best for both of them. Brody has the sweetest smile and loves to cuddle and coos to everyone. Please help our family.”
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