Therapy dog cheers Brody, Froats family travels a tough road


“Everyone knows Brody,” says grandma Gail Robinson. And that’s a fact.

Many folks in the Morrisburg community know 16-year-old Brody Froats who has grown up here and has touched the hearts of so many with his delightful smile and his love to visit and chat with anyone and everyone, anytime.

Brody, the son of Mark and Lisa Froats and big brother to nine-year-old Brett, was diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) when he was six months old.

 PWS is a rare congenital disease which affects many parts of the body. Insatiable hunger and a low metabolic rate leads to obesity and reduced muscle tone and mental ability. Its complications are Type 2 Diabetes, right-sided heart failure and bone problems.

It is Brody’s current battle with heart failure and respiratory complications that landed him at CHEO a little over three weeks ago and had him pictured in the November 15 issue of The Ottawa Citizen for a story on Registered Therapy Dogs.

In the picture, therapy dog, Lia, a golden retriever, is cozying up to Brody in his fourth floor hospital bed where he is hooked up to a BiPAP machine and oxygen around the clock.

“There are actually two dogs that visit, and they get right up on his bed,” says grandma Gail of a smaller dog named Miron and Lia the golden in the photo. “The dog just lays there and Brody reads a story to him. He loves it, and he so looks forward to the visits which are usually on Thursdays.”

During his 16 years, Brody has been a frequent patient at CHEO. This time around he has everyone very worried.

“He went in with congestive heart failure,” says Gail. “He is on the BiPap machine for four hours, and then they take him off for 45 minutes although he remains on oxygen. He has someone in his room 24 hours a day, and he’s monitored constantly. “

While Brody’s dad Mark has not left his side, his mom Lisa, who is undergoing chemotherapy treatment for indolent follicular non-Hodgkins lymphoma, has been there every minute that she is feeling well enough.

According to Robinson, “Brody’s spirits are good. He actually thinks he is in a five star hotel. He gets to order off the menu and his food is delivered to him. There is always something going on with things like visits from Spartacat and clowns.”

Although it is not known when Brody may be able to return home, he is currently stable. His medical team is getting him up to walk more and more to strengthen his legs.

“He’s a tough little boy. When he went in the doctors didn’t think he would make it. He’s stable now, and we want to get him home so badly, but it’s up to God and his body.”

Gail says that the entire family is appreciative of the outpouring of love that the community has shown Brody and Lisa and the Froats and Robinson families in this very difficult time.

 In addition to the high costs of travel, parking and meals, along with the loss of income experienced when a family has one family member battling an illness, the Froats family has both Lisa and Brody seriously ill,  and is struggling through a very, tough time.

Note: Friends are launching an Every Penny Counts-Help the Froats Family fundraiser to assist this young family while they are on this very difficult journey. Donations can be made directly to any ScotiaBank branch in the name of Froats Family Trust Fund, Account #706720303984. Within this next week, the organizers are also hoping to have coin-collection jars out in businesses in the community. The Leader will certainly keep the community posted should there be any other upcoming events. In advance they thank everyone in the community for “your generous help and prayers for the Froats family”.

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