Born with a rare form of muscular dystrophy, Brady Blaser was so tiny and weak that we doctors believed that he could live only a few weeks. But after a powerful priesthood blessing from his father, Steve Blaser, Brady lived—and he still lives.
Yet life has never been easy for Brady. When he was three years old, he was hospitalized with a collapsed lung and pneumonia. When his condition suddenly worsened, I called his father and suggested that he come back to the hospital because I was sure that Brady could not live more than a few hours. When Brother Blaser arrived, he asked me to join him in administering to Brady. Brother Blaser gave his son another powerful blessing, promising him not only that he would live but that he would be running up the hospital hallway the next day!
As a doctor, I thought, Steve, you can’t promise him that he will run tomorrow—he is struggling just to live!
The next morning Brady ran up the hospital hallway to greet me!
Since then Brady, who lives in Bountiful, Utah, has been determined to not let his disease get in the way of living. He enjoys Cub Scouts, school—especially math—family reunions, and roller-skating with his friends. As Utah’s 1986 Muscular Dystrophy Poster Child, Brady was featured in the Labor Day telethon and was the guest of honor at several other events.
Brady usually has to have a nurse with him to help keep his airway open, and he never misses a chance to do missionary work. His favorite nurse is Queenie Aydelott, who is from Atlanta, Georgia. Queenie isn’t a member of the Church, but Brady talks to her a lot about what Latter-day Saints believe.
Brady’s brothers and sisters—Burke (14), Brittany (12), Brandon (10), Benjamin, “B. J.” (6), Brett (4), and Bobbie Jo (2)—are definitely some of Brady’s best friends. When he attended muscular dystrophy summer camp for a week, Burke went as his counselor to help take care of him. Since Brady couldn’t go swimming with the other kids, he kept a giant squirt gun hooked to his wheelchair so that he could still get everyone else wet! His mother, Earlene Blaser, says that he’s a real tease.
When he was seven years old, Brady’s lung collapsed again while he was with his family in Hawaii, and his chest filled up with fluid. Everyone thought then that he was going to die, but he didn’t. For Brady to breathe, however, the doctors had to make an opening from the outside of his neck to the air passageway inside—a tracheotomy. Since then, when Brady wants to talk, he has to hold his finger over the opening to keep the air from escaping. He can’t get his neck underwater in a bath or go swimming because the water would rush into the opening and drown him.
Brady insisted, however, that he was going to be baptized. He had been looking forward to it for a long time, even though his disease had caused him to be so weak that much of his life had been spent in hospitals. His father prayed and had a calm feeling that somehow Brady would be able to be baptized without drowning. So when Brady turned eight, Brother Blaser didn’t ask if it could be done, he just gave me the job of figuring out how to do it. Not able to get any information from Church headquarters about anyone with a tracheotomy being baptized, we tried waterproof tape on Brady’s skin, and it seemed to stick even when wet. The baptism was scheduled.
Because my faith was not as strong as Brady’s and his parents’, we took resuscitation equipment to the baptism. After the spiritual talks, everyone waited while we took the plastic tracheotomy tube out of Brady’s throat, leaving a hole which the tightly stretched layers of special tape held together to keep the water out. Brother Blaser carried his son into the baptismal font, where I was waiting dressed in white. A doctor isn’t often needed in the baptismal font, but my job that day was to help Brady keep water out of his nose and mouth and to be there in case something went wrong. Nothing did. The spirit was there as Brady was baptized a member of the Church.
Medically, the baptism was impossible. But it was accomplished because of the faith and determination of Brady Blaser and his parents.