Julie Bryan, like any parent, had high hopes and prayers for her daughter. But when Addie was born, the girl was diagnosed with Larsen syndrome, a rare condition that causes abnormal development of the bones. So, she spent most of her young life at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas.
Addie was born with her legs seemingly backwards. When she was just five days old, her doctors fitted her with her first cast. Her mother Julia estimated that, in the following years, Addie would go through 60 or 70 casts and, worst of all, four additional surgeries. Addie was in for an extremely painful life.
But when Addie was nearing her eighth birthday, she was standing on a street corner, and people were left without words when they saw the girl who had “backwards knees.” That day, she stunned everyone.
Addie still can’t bend her knees. Her mother told WFAA that when Addie was born, her knees were backwards, and she had hip dysplasia as well as a club foot. Julia said, ” … her legs were all the way up to her head … we didn’t know if she would ever walk … ever run.” Julia didn’t know if her child would ever get to be a child. Things looked bleak.
Addie’s family couldn’t afford the medical treatment that she needed, but the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital offered Addie free medical care.
Now, Addie can walk, run, and even jump! She can do so much more. The doctors and kind staff at the hospital performed a miracle. They made it possible for Addie to be a kid, albeit a kid with a slightly abnormal medical condition.
But that wasn’t enough for Addie. She knew what she wanted for her birthday, and she was determined to get it.
So, in 2015, when she was about to become an eight-year-old, she made a homemade sign and stood on a busy street corner near her home in Rockwell, Texas. What was she selling? Nothing more or less than hope.
Her goal was to raise $8,000 for the same hospital that had given her a chance to be a kid because she wanted to give other kids that exact same chance. She began collecting donations so that other kids at the hospital could get prosthetic devices or casts like she did. She wanted those kids to get well, and fast! She wanted them to get busy being kids. She wanted to pay back the kindness she had received.
But something interesting happened. Someone must have told someone, who told someone else, who happened to mention it to a reporter. The news media got wind of what Addie was doing, and her story spread like wildfire. Her kindness didn’t earn $8,000 … it earned $19,500.
And that was just the start. A philanthropist (who requested anonymity) heard the news. Having been moved by photos showing Addie as a newborn facing impossible odds who had been saved by the hospital, the philanthropist donated $50,000 on Addie’s behalf.
Addie sought to donate $8,000 to the hospital. Her dedication and perseverance earned the hospital $69,500 … just shy of 70 grand.
That was a lot of casts! Hospitals that rely on charitable gifts often struggle to make ends meet. But Addie helped the hospital she called her second home for a long time to struggle a little bit less. She brought a bit of cheer to the lives of the children who call the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital their second home.
The world could certainly learn a few lessons from this beautiful soul.
Watch the video and learn about this spirited young lady. Her gift comes from the purest place of all — the heart of a child.