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Community rallies for boy battling rare disease

By Kylie Bearse
Published On: Nov 02 2012 09:53:03 PM CDT
Updated On: Nov 05 2012 11:01:10 AM CST

At 8 years old, Brendan McDaniel is one in a million.

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho -

At 8 years old, Brendan McDaniel is one in a million. He has a disease so rare and destructive doctors had to cut out part of his brain.

While he is beating the odds in Cleveland, Ohio, friends and family in eastern Idaho are coming together to help out.

Two years ago, Brendan started having seizures.

"We were terrified, we prayed a lot," said Chris McDaniel, Brendan's dad. "We didn't know what was wrong with him."

"We were horrified," said his mom, Joy McDaniel. "It was the toughest decision we've ever had to make."

In the end, it was Brendan who made the choice.

"He was sick of the seizures," said Chris. "He gave us the strength to do what needed to be done."

Doctors in Ohio cut out Brendan's left temporal lobe, part of his frontal and then disconnected the right side from the left.

Doctors said he would not be able to talk, possibly not understand and he would have to relearn how to walk.

But within hours, Brendan was talking.

"The greatest miracle we've seen is nobody thought he'd be able to talk," said Chris. "He's a super tough kid, he's working hard."

And back home in Idaho Falls, his community is too. "Bear Hugs for Brendan" is taking over Facebook.

"It's incredible, it's amazing," said Joy. "That truly helps Brendan because it just brings the biggest smile to his face."

"We know how blessed we are to have a community like this," said Chris.

But the struggle is far from over, and Tara Krupp, Brendan's aunt, is hoping to help with that.

"We're hoping to raise $20,000," said Krupp. "We want to make sure the family has enough for travel expenses and whatever other expenses come up."

She has helped to organize a dinner/ raffle Saturday, Nov. 3 at 6 p.m. at Hillcrest High School. Tickets are $10 ahead, $15 at the door. The community has already donated several "big ticket" items for a silent auction. 

"If I were to thank everyone I couldn't do it," said Chris. "There are hundreds and hundreds of people." 
"It's overwhelming. We're so grateful and so thankful," said Joy.

For more information on the benefit and updates on Brendan's condition visit "Bear Hugs for Brendan" on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/Brendanshugs). You can also call (208) 589-4090.

Donations for Brendan can be made at Chase.

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