Bullying comes in all shapes, sizes and sadly even ages. A local family says they felt their 12-week-old baby was targeted by an ignorant Facebook comment. For every bad moment they believe there can be so much more good.
"We were really caught off-guard," said Sara Heller of their first reaction to their son’s ultrasound images. They knew some people might think he looks different. "I mean you can see he's just a regular normal baby."
Baby Brody has a bilateral cleft lip and palate. He also has a form of chromosome deletion. They're told there's only nine other known cases like it in the world.
"They asked us if we wanted to keep the pregnancy," said Dad Chris Eidam. That wasn't a question for the mom and dad. They knew their son would be born breathing and that was enough for them.
Every day they post photos of their little boy to Facebook. They proudly share his smiling face with the world. It was a recent comment on one of those photos that briefly changed their perspective.
"What's wrong with your son's face?" It caught the parents off guard. They were prepared to know how their son would look but they also knew it didn’t matter to them. There was still the reaction others would have that they weren’t quite ready for.
"He's three months old and being bullied?" asked Sara. One of the worst thoughts was that this comment could be the first of many to come. How would they deal with this? How would Brody deal with this? They chose to educate. "My job as his parent and his advocate is to tell his story." She kindly responded to the comment by attaching a link to a trusted medical web site that explained what a cleft palate was.
It was shortly after the comment that something else caught them off guard. Just a couple nights before the New Year while out at dinner with some of her friends, Sara and little Brody got a surprise.
Their server came over to the table and said they had a gift for them from someone at another table. The server handed them a piece of paper. "I'm just thinking what could this be? It's probably some nice message on a napkin," said Sara. Instead it was a reassurance of their faith in others. "It was a check!" For $1,000. On the memo line: “For your beautiful baby.”
Completely unaware of what the couple had just experienced and how they thought people might continue to react to their child someone made it clear that good can outgrow the bad.
They say their baby is perfect to them and to know that he is perfect to someone who doesn't even know him just gives them hope that Brody will take the life they gave him and do some good as well.
"I hope that he continues to be our special perfect boy and that someday he can do something great for someone," said Sara.
You might think that the money could go a long way with diapers but they tell WOWT 6 News that surgeries are where they have to focus their funds. This week Brody will have to have one of the first major surgeries on his face.