Skip to main content

#HelpKidsLiveBetter: A Life-Changing Diagnosis for Walmart Assistant Manager’s Son

Todd and Lori Douglass of Bridgton, Maine “live to help other kiddos and parents of [their son’s] disease.” That’s why this year’s Walmart fundraising campaign benefiting The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital (BBCH) is especially meaningful for Todd, who works as an assistant manager at the North Conway Walmart in New Hampshire.

Todd’s son, Brayden, was born perfectly healthy in December of 2007. It wasn’t until he was a toddler that he began to show signs of a developmental delay, as well as other symptoms, that would continue for years. By the time he was six-years-old, Brayden was enduring body pain, muscle weakness, and frequent falls that would result in broken bones or dislocated joints on a regular basis. Six to eight hours of therapy a week along with numerous MRIs, X-rays, blood draws, and visits to the doctor left him and his family without answers.

By the fall of 2015, Brayden and his family had run out of specialists to see. Finally, a pediatrician’s referral to see a geneticist at BBCH changed everything. After years of unexplained illness and injuries, Brayden was diagnosed with Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, a rare connective tissue disorder that causes the body to produce defective collagen.

“The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital and Dr. Wendy Smith changed the trajectory of Brayden’s life,” says Lori. “They gave him the power of knowledge, information, and [the ability] to advocate for himself.”

Today, Brayden is a happy and healthy 11-year-old. Undeterred by his illness, Brayden loves playing outside with his friends, swimming, and creating masterpieces out of Legos. Although there is no cure for Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, the team of doctors and therapists at BBCH have given Brayden and his family the knowledge and support to treat his symptoms and keep a smile on his face.

The medical care and life-changing diagnosis that Brayden received at BBCH is made possible through corporate partnerships and generous community support. From June 10th to July 7th, Walmart locations in Maine and New Hampshire will be raising money in support of the children’s hospital and to #HelpKidsLiveBetter!