Benefit chili supper aids Bratt family

Published 8:55 pm Thursday, January 26, 2006

By By Janet Little Cooper
The drive-thru window at David's Catfish had a steady stream of vehicles passing through Monday night. But only a handful were asking for catfish, the majority were dropping off donations for the Bryant McDonald benefit that was held inside the restaurant on Monday night.
"We didn't know what the response would be," Tracy McDonald said. "Everything went above and beyond our expectations."
The benefit was held for 4-year-old Bryant McDonald, a resident of Bratt, Fla., who was born with seven brain malformations. The young child's medical journey began when he underwent his first surgery at only one and half years old. On June 20, 2005 neurologist and neurosurgeons removed the "bad" part of Bryant's brain, a lobotomy, in order to reduce the number of seizures he was experiencing by at least 80 percent. Birmingham doctors had determined that Bryant was having an average of 8 seizures a minute.
Since the lobotomy, the young boy has been accepted as a candidate for a therapy program called Adeli Intensive Suit Therapy. The therapy intended to help children with Cerebral Palsy is new to the United States and is not covered by insurance.
The program, a four-week session, runs for five days a week, four hours each day. The cost per four-week session is $8,000, which does not include housing or food during the four-week period. The therapy will be held in Macon, Ga.
"Bryant will start his first round of therapy on Feb. 6," McDonald said. "The therapy will last through March 3rd. We will be traveling to Macon week by week," McDonald said. "I will take Bryant one week and Jason the next week, so we will each continue to work and keep in good standing there."
Monday's benefit was intended to help the McDonald's cover the expenses associated with Bryant's therapy. The chili supper drew in more than 450 people and raised more than $6000. A silent auction was held for more than 160 items that were donated by businesses from Atmore and the surrounding area.
Friends, family and church family of the McDonald's all pitched in to make the night a huge success. Bryant was also seen mingling with the guest.
"I don't know if anyone really knows how thankful I am," McDonald said. "Mr. Faircloth was so generous to allow the use of his restaurant. He wouldn't take a penny for it; he did it because he wanted to. Food Fair, Piggly Wiggly and B &J Meat Market in Century were also great. They donated so many items to help us out. And then the 30 plus workers who helped us out and made it all possible. Our friends, family and church family were great. We had a place for everybody that wanted to work. We had never done anything like this and the few minor glitches we had, were outweighed by the huge success. Bryant is such a social butterfly anyway, but he loved every minute of the benefit. He was so tired from the whole thing."
Donations can continue to be made at United Bank and the Walnut Hill Ruritan Club is planning a yard sale in the near future to help the family also.

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