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Funds raised for boy with DMD

Braxton Bradley has weak knees.

That’s all the 5-year-old knows about the disease that has invaded his body. That’s all he needs to know.

Braxton was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy on Feb. 13, but he doesn’t know about the disease and how it will affect him. He is still looking forward to going to camp and doing all the things boys his age can do.

On Wednesday, the employees at Colonial Bank in Brundidge, where Braxton’s mom Teresa Sneed is employed, and members of the Brundidge Volunteer Fire Department teamed up to raise funds to help send Braxton to a special needs summer camp and to help with the escalating expenses of treating the disease.

The team sold hotdogs and hamburgers and “stationed” collection boots at the bank for those who want to make a donation to the little boy’s cause.

“We always like to do what we can to help others but, when it’s a little boy and it’s one of our own, that makes the cause even more special,” said Linda Dansby, Colonial Bank branch manager. “We’ll continue to take donations until sometime in July and will appreciate the support of the community.”

It has only been four months since, Braxton was diagnosed with Duchenne MD, and it’s still hard for his mother to comprehend.

When she heard the words, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, they were foreign to her. Today, she is all too familiar with the devastating disease.

Muscular dystrophies are genetic disorders characterized by progressive muscle wasting and weaknesses that begin with microscopic changes in the muscles. In Duchenne’s, boys begin to show signs of muscle weakness as early as age three. The disease gradually weakens the muscles in the arms, legs and trunk. By the early teens, or even earlier, the boy’s heart and respiratory muscles may also be affected.

“My mother was with me in Birmingham when we were told that Braxton has Duchenne’s,” Teresa Sneed said. “We went to Birmingham because we thought something was wrong with the bone in Braxton’s leg. We never thought it would be anything like what we were told.”

When Braxton was 2 years old, he broke his right leg. When the bone healed, Braxton’s foot kept turning to the right. Looking back, that was probably the beginning of the disease.

Doctors never mentioned the possibility of Duchenne muscular dystrophy so, nearly three years later, it was devastating for Sneed to hear those words.

“The doctor in Birmingham said that the turning out of Braxton’s foot had nothing to do with the bones, Sneed said. “He did a blood test and told us what it was. I didn’t know anything about Duchenne’s but the doctor said there’s no cure. Braxton is being treated with albuterol and he also takes vitamin supplements but he still gets tired real easily. His leg muscles are weak and that’s all he knows about the disease that he has.”

But Sneed said there is hope in a drug that has been developed that could potentially slow the progression of the disease.

“The drug is in its fourth trial and, hopefully, it will be something that will help Braxton and others like him,” she said. “That is our best hope right now.”

Funds donated to the Muscular Dystrophy Association are used to find ways to halt or reverse the muscle destruction of MD and to develop drugs with less destructive side effects than those currently available.