Ten-year-old Brady Chan from North Carolina has big goals that stem from his passion for video games. He is part of an e-gaming team, where his favorite games include “Brawl Starts” and “Overwatch.” In the future, Brady hopes to become an engineer and create his own video games. He is already learning to code! Brady and his younger brother, Lucas, also love to travel, and Brady hopes to visit France and Japan. “We are always planning adventures and experiences for our kids,” shares Mimi, Brady’s mom.
Brady was diagnosed with SMA at 18 months old while in Beijing, China. “We actually spent the 8 months prior going through test after test with a local pediatric neurology office. The results came back normal, but he had completely stopped meeting milestones and started losing ability,” recalled Mimi. “My mom had connections at the Beijing Children’s Hospital, and getting tests and appointments seemed much quicker and easier, so she Brady and I took to Beijing.”
“Brady is a confident, young man with a magnetic personality. He loves reading, learning, gaming, and writing poetry. Brady loves conversation and has never had problems making friends. He does, however, see very clearly that SMA keeps him from doing things his friends can do. Sometimes, that’s okay. He doesn’t have to play on the mulched playground, and instead created a soccer crew.” – Mimi Chan, Mother to Brady.
As Mimi reflects on their early years, she notes that those were the hardest moments. “We were coming to terms with SMA while at the same time learning about it and how to care for Brady. It was overwhelming.” Despite this, Mimi’s advice to other parents is to be your child’s biggest advocate, and to not be afraid to question doctors, ask for a second opinion, and make requests for the best interest of your child.
The good news is that life shifted for the Chan family once Brady began school and started treatment for his SMA. “He became a little stronger, got sick less, and became a little more independent,” says Mimi. She also notes that the school provided an aide, which was a huge help and gave the family a little bit of normalcy.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and times of quarantine, Brady has attended school remotely. “Doing school online is much harder and stressful, but my favorite subjects are probably math and science,” shares Brady. He also enjoys reading books and watching YouTube, so much so that his family started their own YouTube channel to document their journey and family memories.
In 2015, Mimi left her decade–long marketing career to start her own online shop, Style Suite by Mimi Chan. Brady started slowly helping in 2019 and became more involved once schools shut down by helping to make custom bracelets. “We were able to spend a lot of time together, and also raise money for causes that we care about,” Brady notes. Not only was Brady working on a fun project, but this was also an opportunity to learn business skills and the importance of philanthropy, which was important to Mimi. “He’s learned about profit margins, the difference between gross and net profit, created an elevator pitch for events, and so much more.”