Brendan Baker of Abilene, Texas, is a very special young man. It was his 13th birthday in December and Brendan did something very special and unselfish. He decided to forgo gifts for himself. Instead, he asked people to make a donation to his GoFundMe campaign for the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN).
This selflessness would be special from any child, but in Baker’s case it is even more special because Brendan suffers from an extreme case of dwarfism known as Desbuquois syndrome. This syndrome is extremely rare and is known to affect only a total of 32 people worldwide.
This syndrome causes Brendan to stand only 27.25 inches tall and weigh a mere 24 pounds, said Chris Baker, Brendan’s dad, in an interview with ABC News.
Brendan chose to help the CMN because they have helped him throughout his life. Brendan at one time was one of CMN’s featured children when he was only 6 years old, and appeared on their telethon. After that appearance, Brendan attended the telethon every year, sometimes just answering phones.
The Abilene-Reporter News reports, “He attends every single one of my events that I ask him to,” Melinda Blay, coordinator for CMN at Hendrick Medical Center, said. “He never tells me no.”
However, CMN no longer does telethons because they have changed their fundraising direction and focus on other channels to raise funds. Therefore, Brendan decided this year he wanted to do something for the organization, but at first was not sure what he would or could do, until he got the GoFundMe campaign idea from his grandfather.
CMN uses donations to fund 170 hospitals around the USA and Canada, which in turn use the funds where needed most, which could be anything from equipment to training to research. The CMN hospitals help children with catastrophic illnesses like cancer, brain injuries or children who need constant care due to premature births, genetic diseases, and much more. All care is provided at no cost to the recipients, regardless what why the child is in the hospital.
Chris Baker told ABC News,”That’s what amazes me about this kid. He’s got such a big heart. For most kids on their birthdays, they just want their presents. Not him. He’s just different. He wanted to help other kids.”
Brendan told ABC News that he would like to help the children at the hospital “feel better and give them toys” to make them happy.
This is not the first time Brendan has been a bit of an Internet star. A video was made two years ago at the Abilene Public Library during a performance of the Fly Dance Co. for the Young Audiences of Abilene program, and Brendan got up on stage with his walker to show off his “fly” dance moves.
Brendan was hoping his “fans” from his dance video that went viral would contribute to his campaign. His original goal was to raise $3,000 for CMN. However, that goal has changed as more money poured in, and now Brendan has raised over $30,000 so far, for CMN.
Donors have been very generous in giving to Brendan’s CMN campaign. The most generous, was made by an anonymous donor this past Thursday in the amount of $16,000.
Brendan was interviewed recently by a local news station, and he was asked how much he hoped to raise? Brendan responded, “$150,000,” slammed his fist on the table and said, “Donate, people!,” His mom Kim Bachmann-Baker shared, with a chuckle.
“We all laughed — but who knows?” Kim added.
Due to Brendan having Desbuquois syndrome, he is prone to an assortment of physical ailments. In late January, he found himself in the hospital due to ongoing heart problems. Most recently, he was admitted to Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth because he tested positive for MRSA. MRSA is a staph “super bug” that is highly resistant to most antibiotics. Due to this infection and its seriousness, Brendan is being kept in isolation while at the hospital.
Even a “super bug” cannot slow down this little powerhouse. He has his iPhone with him that he received as a Christmas gift, and he chats up the nurses all day long.
Kim, Brendan’s mom, said this whole experience has been a bit overwhelming.
“I think it’s great, not just for Brendan, but for CMN,” she said. “They have hospitals all over and they do a lot for kids, no matter what their ability to pay.”
The family is having fun watching all the shares on Facebook and seeing the donations grow.
“Sometimes it’s like watching election returns — how much is it now?” she said, with a laugh.