Last year he celebrated his birthday, a very sick young man, in his hospital bed at CHEO.
This year Brody Froats, the son of Mark and Lisa Froats of Morrisburg, celebrated his 18th birthday (Monday, December 2), no longer in hospital and fresh from an exhilarating experience last Thursday, November 28, when he and Tysen Lefebvre dropped the puck for the Ottawa Senators versus Vancouver Canucks hockey game
It was a long road for Brody who has Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS), but thanks to a great medical team at CHEO, Brody’s willpower and the love, support and prayers from his family and community, it was a road to recovery.
And thanks to the Make–A–Wish® Eastern Ontario and the Ottawa Senators, it was a road that took him, with Tysen, to centre ice at The Canadian Tire Centre last week to drop the ceremonial game-opening puck wearing the Sens newly revealed NHL Heritage Classic jersey.
The Froats were first approached by Make–A-Wish on October 19th when, “we were surprised by a visit with season Sens tickets and all kinds of gifts,” explains Brody’s mother Lisa. “We were driven by limo to that day’s game as well as to Brody’s favourite restaurant in Kanata, Jack Astors.”
“We have been enjoying the games as a family, and it is extra special because we are able to see Brody during the week, depending on game nights, and not just on the weekend.”
Lisa explains that Brody has been living happily in a group home in Orleans since September, and that he has “started back to school at the local Catholic high school there.”
“To date, he has never been as healthy as he is now.”
Lisa recalls the bleak outlook for Brody’s future one year ago when he was a patient at CHEO. At that time, he was battling with heart failure and respiratory problems all of which are complications of PWS. He was on a BiPap machine for four hours at a time, alternating with 45 minutes off, and was constantly on oxygen.
Brody’s future wasn’t great and with Lisa undergoing intensive chemotherapy treatment for Indolent Follicular non-Hodgkins Lymphona the family was experiencing a truly difficult time.
“To think a year ago where we were, and the bleak outlook that was upon us in regards to Brody’s survival is outstanding,” says Lisa. “He is now completely oxygen free, which the doctors thought he would always need. Although he still needs the BiPap for sleeping, he is otherwise very healthy.”
“Many of his physicians have said, ‘he is a medical miracle, definitely one for the medical journals’.”
So when the phone call came last Wednesday, inviting Brody to drop the puck with Tysen, to say there was excitement in the Froats’ household is an understatement.
Lisa says that both families were given the royal treatment from the start of the evening to the finish. “We received awesome seats and after the game, our two families were able to meet the players. What an amazing group of guys. Every player not only autographed, but they took the time for pictures and stood and talked and laughed with our kids.”
While Lisa and Mark can’t say enough about last week’s pleasurable outing they also “extend our thank you to our community family and friends and everyone who supported us through this last year. The kindness and generosity, to say the least, has been overwhelming and the genuine concern for our family will always be remembered.”
“At this time we are all well and are feeling so very blessed for our health and being a family again.”
As for Tysen, the trip to centre ice last Thursday night was a thrill, but it was on November 12, 2012, that his wish came true. That was when he got to meet Adam Sandler!
Tysen writes on the Make-A-Wish Facebook page that, “when I entered his cool office, I noticed a wall filled with pictures and souvenirs representing all the good things he has done for others. It made me think…If Adam Sandler can be a comedian, writer, producer, dad, husband, own his own production company, star in 38 movies and STILL have time to grant my wish and help others then the sky is the limit to what I can do!”
As a result, Tysen set out on a mission to raise $1 million for Make-A-Wish which will help grant 100 wishes! This marvelous young man has now raised $14,894 and anyone who would like to support him can do so by going to the Make–A-Wish Facebook page and following the link.
The only disappointing part of last Thursday’s adventure for the two boys was the Sens 5-2 loss to the Canucks.