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Moody student raises money selling reindeer food for classmate battling cancer

8-year-old selling reindeer food to support child with leukemia
Published: Dec. 19, 2021 at 11:01 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A community is coming together to support a family in one of the biggest battles they’ll ever face.

5-year-old Braylyn Peterson is fighting leukemia. At the time this article was written, Braylyn had been admitted to Children’s Hospital.

Braylyn was diagnosed with high-risk Philadelphia-like acute lymphoblastic leukemia in May of 2021.

Her family says they expected the treatments to last a minimum of two and a half years and sometimes end in lengthy hospital stays.

Braylyn’s father, Tim, says her mother, Ashley Peterson, left her job to care for Braylyn full time.

The family also has another child.

To help, their community is coming together to help support the family financially, some of them making items to sell.

With a few simple ingredients, and a lot of hard work, Moody Elementary School 3rd grader, SJ O’Brien, creates bags of reindeer food to sell.

“They’re made out of oats, glitter, and sprinkles,“ explained SJ O’Brien

In two days, SJ raised more than $800 for a fellow student, kindergartner, Braylyn.

“So the bills won’t be so much,” SJ said.

Once the tight-knit community learned of Braylyn’s diagnosis, the response has been swift.

“In a small community, everyone kind of comes together and helps each other,” SJ’s dad Sean O’Brien said.

An online fundraiser has more than $6000.

The local pizzeria, Carpenetti’s, welcomed WBRC in to help get the word out.

Bemele Candles created a candle for Braylyn to help raise money.

Neighbors adorn their mailboxes with yellow bows in honor of Braylyn.

Everyone wants to help lighten the load on the Peterson family.

“I couldn’t imagine what Tim is going through, just as a father,” Sean O’Brien says.

“Whether it’s for bills, or for them to go do something fun when she’s able to get out of the hospital, or just to have a little pressure taken off of them,” SJ’s mother Michele O’Brien says.

Sean and Michelle O’Brien say they’re selling as many bags of reindeer food as they can by Christmas Eve and all the money will go to Braylyn’s family.

“Makes me feel like I’m doing something really good,” SJ smiled.

To buy reindeer food by SJ O’Brien, click here.

To donate to the family’s GoFundMe, click here.

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