BY VALENTINA CAVAL
Brayden Walsh is 9 years old. He loves his Super Mario game, and his favorite subject is recess. He gets an instructor at home 10 hours a week, and has a particular interest in science and history.
On June 27, 2011, the Pocono area boy was diagnosed with typical cystic fibrosis. Cystic fibrosis affects the glands that produce mucus and sweat; as the mucus builds up, it can block airways in the lungs. The median survival age for a person with cystic fibrosis is 37.
Since his diagnosis, Brayden has been on various treatments, some of which include the percussion vest, nebulizer medication and enzymes.
“I hate to use the nebulizers,” he said.
Brayden has had 30 doctor appointments in the past two months. During the fall and winter, he uses the percussion vest twice a day for 30 minutes. When Brayden is sick, he uses the vest four times a day for 30 minutes. He is treated with hypertonic saline twice a day and spends a lot of time in and out of hospitals.
His mother, Theresa Walsh, said, “Brayden could hear a baby crying in the room next to him. It was then that he said to me, ‘I want to raise $1 million so kids don’t get sick and have to go to the hospital.’”
Brayden and his mom teamed up to put his $1 million plan in gear about two years ago.
Theresa contacted Mary Ann Sofronie at the Lehigh Valley Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and told her about Brayden’s goal.
“We’re selling roses because it’s one of the trademarks of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. A lot of children can’t say cystic fibrosis, so they say 65 roses,” Theresa said.
The Walshes sell rose necklaces, pens, earrings and coffee mugs.
“Brayden comes up with the ideas, and he used to tell me I was his employee and he put me to work,” Theresa said.
Their goal is to bring awareness and raise money for cystic fibrosis. They participated in their first walk on June 1 in Monroe County. They have also organized a bike ride — “Riding for Brayden” — on Sept. 21 in East Stroudsburg. The proceeds will go toward Brayden’s mission and his medical expenses.
Theresa has started a Facebook page and involved some of the Stroudsburg community in their mission.
“Brayden has been my client for about three years now, and he is just such a bundle of joy,” said Brayden’s hairdresser, Ashley Cwik. “The fact that he wants to raise $1 million to help at the age of 9 is such a huge vision.”
Theresa nominated Ashley for a program by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to raise $1,500 for Brayden’s cause. Ashley and her clients created a cookbook — Cooking for a Cure — to sell as her part in the mission. The cookbook debuted in July and has already raised $300.
Brayden’s Mission has raised more than $5,000 in the past two years.
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