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Little boy has bright future after rough start

Brady and his sister Kayla are shown playing with their Husky “Avalanche” in the Knutson back yard. (Submitted photos)1 / 2
The Knutson family is shown looking through Brady’s photo album, which chronicles his battle with health issues since his birth to today. Left to right are Brady, his mom Katrina “Kate” and Kayla.2 / 2

No one should have to endure the struggles this little boy had to go through.

Brady Knutson, now five-years-old, had a rough start in life. Doctors discovered he suffered from a heart problem. The main arteries to his heart were switched, meaning blood flow was not sufficient to distribute the life-giving blood to all parts of his little body.

So, five days after his birth, little Brady went into surgery to correct the problem. His heart is now repaired, but a small leak in one of the arteries will still require more surgery to correct when he gets older.

While hospitalized for his heart condition, doctors also noticed his feet. He was diagnosed with bestial talus, or rocker feet. He was placed in a cast for nine weeks, but it did not help. Bilateral surgery was done, but insurance did not cover it completely.

His parents, Kate and Kyle Knutson of rural Ellsworth, turned to their church and a benefit was held to help out. Both were employed, but insurance did not cover everything.

Brady was receiving help from a cardiologist at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis for his heart, but something had to be done for his feet.

It was at this time Jim Hines, the hospital coordinator for the St. Croix Valley Shrine Club, entered the picture. He talked to Kate’s father, Gayle Johnson, and suggested they send him to the Shriners Hospital for Children because they specialized in orthopedic problems.

Hines helped with the application and treatment at Shriners started in 2008 and continued for six months. He received braces and will need them all of his life, but now he can run and play like the other kids.

The doctors at Children’s Hospital, where Brady is receiving heart treatments, said they never saw a young man with his history with such wonderful looking feet.

Kate said the people at Shriners know how to talk with kids on their level. They explain things so they can understand them.

“It is unlike any other hospital” said Kate. “It really makes a difference for me as a mom.”

Brady wears special orthopedic shoes and will have to wear some type of braces all of his life.

Last summer was the first time he was not afraid to go on the playground like other kids. Kate quietly cried the first time he went onto the playground. “The strength gained from his treatment is amazing.”

Kate commented, “Shriners have been a blessing for our family.” She added “everyone, regardless if you have children or not, should visit the hospital at least once just to experience what they do.”

In addition, the Knutson family endured the loss of a very young son, Dillon, to a kidney problem shortly after being born. This and Brady’s condition have tested the family.

Kate noted her faith will help her family through these difficult times, even though the bills from the heart treatments keep mounting.

Even with all they are going through, Kate has started helping others who have suffered the loss of a child by writing articles on infant death. She is encouraged to know her writings have helped others. She now has a network of people in a widening support system.

Parade grand marshal

Little Brady, whose favorite toys are transformers and anything John Deere, has been chosen to be the Grand Marshal of the Little East-West Shrine Game on Saturday, Oct 12, in River Falls. He will lead the Shrine/ UW-RF Homecoming Parade, which starts at 10:30 a.m. He and his family will also meet the Zor Shrine dignitaries and be honored guests at the Potentates banquet on Friday, Oct. 11, at the American Legion Club.