Moody student raises money selling reindeer food for classmate battling cancer

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) – A community comes together to support a family in one of the greatest battles they will ever face.

The 5-year-old Braylyn Brigade is battling leukemia. At the time of writing this article, Braylyn was admitted to the children’s hospital.

Braylyn was diagnosed with high-risk Philadelphia-like acute lymphoblastic leukemia in May 2021.

Her family says they expected the treatments to last at least two and a half years and sometimes end in lengthy hospital stays.

Braylyn’s father, Tim, says her mother, Ashley, gave up her job to care for Braylyn full-time.

The family also has one child.

To help, their community comes together to support the family financially, some of them making items to sell.

With a few simple ingredients and a lot of hard work, Moody Elementary School 3rd grader, SJ O’Brien, makes bags of reindeer food to sell.

“They’re made of oats, glitter, and sprinkles,” explains SJ O’Brien

In two days, SJ raised over $800 for fellow preschooler Braylyn Brigade.

“So the bills won’t be that much,” SJ said.

Once the close-knit community learned of Braylyn’s diagnosis, the response was swift.

“In a small community, everyone comes together and helps each other,” said SJ’s father Sean O’Brien.

An online fundraiser has more than $6000.

Local pizza parlor, Carpenetti’s, welcomed WBRC to help spread the word.

Bemele Candles made a candle for Braylyn to raise money.

Neighbors decorate their mailboxes with yellow bows in Braylyn’s honor.

Everyone wants to help lighten the burden on the Brigade family.

“I couldn’t imagine what Tim is going through, just like a father,” says Sean O’Brien.

“Whether it’s for bills, or if they’re going to do something fun when she can get out of the hospital, or just to take a little pressure off them,” says Michele O’Brien, SJ’s mom.

Sean and Michelle O’Brien say they sell as many bags of reindeer food as possible on Christmas Eve and all the money goes to Braylyn’s family.

“It makes me feel like I’m doing something really good,” SJ smiled.

To purchase reindeer food from SJ O’Brien, click here.

Click here to donate to the family’s GoFundMe.


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