Nephew's life inspired others
Tracy B. Cieniewicz, Reporter's Viewpoint
My nephew, Kyle Michael Brady, died in May 2004, less than two months shy of his second birthday.
Kyle was born with Down syndrome and his parents, my brother and sister-in-law Mike "Jr." and Marla Brady of New Market, were told when Kyle was 16-months old that he also had leukemia.
Thanks to life-sustaining whole blood and platelet transfusions, Kyle was with us for six months after he was diagnosed. He spent that time sharing his beautiful smile, playing, dancing and enjoying music with his parents, big sister, cousins, grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, uncles, and a host of family friends.
It was time we will always treasure.
Less than two months after Kyle died, on what would have been his second birthday, my brother and sister-in-law found a way to honor Kyle's memory by encouraging others to donate the gift of life.
Last Friday, the 2nd annual Kyle Brady Memorial Blood Drive and Bone Marrow/Platelet Registry was held at Glenn Campbell Photography Studio in Huntsville, sponsored by LifeSouth Community Blood Centers.
More than 60 people donated blood in memory of Kyle and many more came just to show their support. Cousins, co-workers, former classmates, old and new neighbors of our family were there. I even saw the flower girl from Jr. and Marla's wedding, who was probably four-years-old then but more like 18 now.
The friends Jr. and Marla made through the B.U.D.S. (Bringing Up Down Syndrome) group were there as well.
Just like they were there to support our family when Kyle was alive, they have also been there to help honor his memory and educate the public about the importance of blood, platelet and bone marrow donations.
Purity Dairy brought a vendor wagon and gave away free ice cream.
A neighboring business, without being solicited, became excited about the event and kept the food tent full of fresh-baked cookies throughout the day. Another business offered event tents and an industrial fan to shield my brother from the summer heat while he cooked hot dogs and other goodies for those who donated blood.
There were 22 door prizes, including everything from gift baskets to pet store gift cards and professional teeth whitening to bottles of wine, donated by local businesses and organizations.
The event was held at the photography studio where Kyle and his big sister, Carly, always had their pictures made. Campbell and his staff say they were touched by Kyle's spirit and felt compelled to reach out to the community, all because of a little boy who never even had the chance to walk or talk.
To everyone who helped, and especially to those who donated the gift of life through blood donation and the platelet/bone marrow registry, I thank you, my family thanks you, and I am sure our little angel Kyle thanks you, too.
It is truly amazing to see the way someone so small, someone on this earth for such a very short time, can make such a huge impact on so many lives by sharing a smile, a laugh, a dance, a hug.
It kind of makes you wonder what the rest of us are capable of.