Family honors son, gives to new unit at Norton Children's Hospital
One family is helping Kentuckiana's most susceptible have a fighting chance, turning their mission at Norton Children's Hospital into a mission to give back.
TAYLORSVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- One family is helping Kentuckiana's most susceptible have a fighting chance, turning their mission at Norton Children's Hospital into a mission to give back.
Brady Zgonina's smile greets visitors throughout a Taylorsville home. "He wore these tiny little glasses. They're so sweet and so tiny and I carry them with me all the time," says Julie Spry, Brady's mother.
Born in 2008, he had five complex congenital heart defects. He also had Down syndrome. "The conditions he had, he's lucky to survive being born," Spry said.
His strength shocked doctors. "In his first year of life, he pretty much spent about six months in the hospital, but aside from all of that, we got to learn what a fighter he was," Spry said.
At three years old, he received his best bill of health yet. He was ready for his final heart surgery. After a successful surgery, he got sick recovering inside the pediatric intensive care unit. His mother said a combination of health concerns and his sensitive body was too much too handle.
"Unfortunately, he didn't recover. So, he passed away in October 2011."
Brady's personality still shines through in pictures. "When he passed, I told myself, I made a promise that I was going to celebrate him every day."
It was years later in 2016 that his mother was reading an article about Jennifer Lawrence Foundation Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at Norton Children's Hospital. It's complete with private rooms.
"There was a line in the article that they wrote about her [Jennifer Lawrence] that said studies show that heart children have a better chance of recovering by being in this unit and that stuck with me and I thought I wonder if, if this unit had been there when Brady were in the hospital."
May 3 would be Brady's tenth birthday. "I decided, okay this is the time."
Family, friends and even strangers raised $10,000. "He made an amazing impact on many, many people."
The goal is $25,000. That would mean a room would be named after Brady. "I would love to name it after his full name but also give it a little spin like call it the Brady Strong room because he was the strongest kid. It would mean everything."
Almost seven years have passed. Brady's mom is keeping her promise that she would help her little boy's name live on forever inside and out of their family's four walls.
"With a unit like this, I feel very passionate and confident that it would help those kids to have a chance."
Congenital heart defects are the most common types of birth defects, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The new cardiac intensive care unit is expected to open next year. To donate to Brady's fundraiser, click here.
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