Brady Williams can be found many a summer day running around a T-ball diamond in Oakfield, but that just begins to tell the story of an 8-year-old triplet nearly paralyzed as a toddler.
He hit many of his milestones during the first year of his life before brother Eli and sister Cara, but then he started to regress. Doctors at first thought he had cerebral palsy, but a CT scan when he was 18 months old showed he had a massive, cancerous tumor that had started in his chest and wrapped around his spine. Surgeons at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City removed almost all of it. The tiny shard that remains hasn’t grown since.
That’s why the Genesee County family makes lemonade every Labor Day weekend, and will do so this weekend as well, this time as the New York Hero State Family Representative for Lemonade Stand Day, to benefit Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. The foundation funds research and treatment of pediatric cancers. The family will serve lemonade from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Elroy Parkins Park at 37 Drake St., in Oakfield, said Megan Williams, Brady’s mom.
Q. How did you find out about the foundation?
I found out about it online doing research about pediatric cancer in 2009 when Brady was sick.... I noticed Alex’s Lemonade Stand doing different events. We decided to have our first stand that summer after he finished his treatment. ...I realized going through the cancer treatment process that a lot of the big name charities give a ridiculously small amount to pediatric cancer. When you’ve been impacted by it, you realize that all these charities that people do a lot of wonderful work for are only giving between 1 and 3 percent of their proceeds to kids. It was shocking for us. Alex’s, of course, gives all of their money to pediatric cancer research and causes.
Q. Why have you decided to continue to be involved?
It’s just such a benefit for us as a family, after the darkest time in our lives, to turn it into something positive. There’s the impact of so many kids we met on our journey that have passed away from cancer. The impact that they and their families had on us has motivated us to not forget about them. And it’s of course to honor our son and his fight. ... Unfortunately, government funding is low for pediatric cancer compared to adult cancer. If no one else is going to do it, then we need to do it.