On Saturday, March 21, 2020, Trinity United Church of Christ and the Thurmont Lions Club will be partnering together to provide a benefit breakfast for Luke Bradley (pictured right) to help the family with his medical expenses. Luke is the 10-year-old son of Tracey and Dan Bradley, and the grandson of Rick and Judy May of Thurmont and Edward and Shirley Bradley of Taneytown. The family has lived in the community for many years. Luke is a fifth-grader at Thurmont Elementary School.
Luke has been a fighting underdog from the start. He was born six weeks premature due to his mother suffering from pre-eclampsia late in her pregnancy. He was delivered by emergency C-section and spent two months in the NICU at Frederick Memorial Hospital. During that time, he contracted an infection that delayed him from coming home.
During his first two years of life, Luke’s development was slow, and his parents started noticing that he was not reaching the normal milestones for a two-year-old. After being examined by doctors, it was determined that Luke had Cerebral Palsy, which was likely caused by brain trauma at birth. Cerebral Palsy can present itself in many different ways, depending on the part of the brain affected. In Luke’s case, the muscles in his legs contract, which makes it difficult and painful to walk. He wears leg braces to keep his feet flexed, and he also uses a walker to get around. As he grows, these things need to be updated to accommodate his size.
The condition has also manifested itself in the way of nerve damage to his eyes. Luke has undergone surgery to help improve this, be he still suffers from low vision and requires glasses to help improve his vision. A few years ago, he also began having seizures while sleeping, so he is on daily medication to help prevent this from happening.
Luke has had numerous surgeries over the years. He’s had several rounds of Botox injections into his leg muscles to help relax them, and he now has a Baclofen pump installed subcutaneously in his abdomen with a catheter that delivers medicine directly to his spine.
In May of 2019, he had major surgery performed at Johns Hopkins in an attempt to straighten out his hips, knees, and ankles. The tension from his muscles contracting tends to cause his legs to twist, so during the seven-hour surgery, they inserted many plates and screws to straighten his legs and make walking easier. After two weeks at Johns Hopkins, Luke was transferred to Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital for six weeks of extensive therapy. In the beginning, with casts and knee immobilizers on both legs, he was confined to his bed and a wheelchair. As therapy progressed, he eventually regained his mobility and was able to return home in July. During the rest of the summer, he worked to build up his stamina, in hopes of joining his fifth-grade class in September. This coming summer, he will be facing another surgery to remove the hardware they inserted, but recovery from this should be much easier.
Despite all of the challenges Luke faces in his life, he continues to be a very happy and upbeat 10-year-old. He has an overwhelming love of sports, especially football. He has great intuition for the game and has helped out with coaching and announcing for the local CYA football team. The coach loves having him on the sideline, and he is a great inspiration for the team. When he can’t be on the field, he hones his coaching skills by playing sports video games and watching plenty of games on TV. He also enjoys woodworking, and his dad has set up a workbench in the basement just for Luke. He especially enjoys building the prefab kits from Lowes.
Luke’s daily schedule is complicated, and often includes physical therapy and doctors’ visits. His parents and grandparents work together to provide for his needs while also including stimulating activities. Luke will live with these—and many more—challenges his entire life. It would be great if we, as a community, could come together to provide support for him and his family.
So, please come out on Saturday, March 21, 2020, from 6:00-11:00 a.m., to Trinity UCC, located at 101 East Main Street in Thurmont. Enjoy an all-you-can-eat breakfast, sponsored by Trinity UCC and the Thurmont Lions Club. There will be an abundance of good food and community fellowship.