It was a cool, crisp January morning in 2016 when team runners in the Wolfson Children’s Challenge 55K Ultra Relay took off from the starting point at The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. To make sure everyone got a chance to participate, lanes for the relay were extra-wide to make sure that kids in wheelchairs could also take part with their families.
One little boy named Bronson stood out, not because of his physical challenges since there were kids of every ability at the event. He stood out because he was sporting lime green and black ̶ his favorite colors – that matched his sleek, custom-made wheelchair -- and a huge smile as his friends and family members pushed through all 11 5K loops of the Ultra Relay.
Feeling the wind rush through his hair as his Brave Like Bronson team takes him through races like the Gate River Run and The Donna is always a thrill. But for his family and friends, the Wolfson Children’s Challenge Ultra Relay is extra special because he is a Wolfson Children’s Hospital patient, and has been since the day he was born.
Bronson suffered a severe, traumatic brain injury at birth. He has cerebral palsy (CP) and a seizure disorder, as well as other medical challenges. He has been through many complex procedures at Wolfson Children’s Hospital.
“The nurses on 5 Wolfson, the neuroscience unit, like to say Bronson has his own wing,” said his grandmother Yvette Patch, executive director of Brave Like Bronson. “He is there so often and he loves the staff at Wolfson!”
Bronson’s supporters will join thousands of runners, some Wolfson Children’s Hospital physicians, team members and volunteers, at this Saturday’s Wolfson Children’s Challenge. This year, he’ll lead two Brave Like Bronson relay teams.
Although Bronson can’t speak, his family says he has a unique ability to reach people where they are without a single word.
“He is an inspiration to many and that is an understatement,” says Yvette. “We have learned many distinctive truths from Bronson, truths that we would have never learned without him. We have learned that regardless of someone’s ability or disability, everyone has a very distinct purpose; a purpose that only that person can fill and no one else.”