The Scotland County community has rallied to support the family of a three-year-old hospitalized in Durham.
Brayden Clark was admitted to Duke Children’s Hospital earlier this month after being diagnosed with pneumonia and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). When he was admitted, his right lung had collapsed and his left lung was surrounded by fluid, and he was placed on life support.
Because of the high degree of contagion associated with RSV, Brayden’s parents, Scotland County natives Courtney and Jeremy Clark, were unable to stay in charity accommodations near the hospital. A member of the U.S. Army, Jeremy Clark serves with the 82nd Airborne Division.
“The reason we did the fundraiser is because the family was staying at the Ronald McDonald House, but the RSV virus that Brayden has is so contagious that they were afraid that they might give it to someone else,” said Christy Baxley, who organized the event.
Baxley, along with friends, family, and supporters of the Clarks, held a combination car wash, bake sale, collard sandwich sale, lemonade stand, and raffle on Saturday at O’Reilly Auto Parts in Laurinburg.
Food for volunteers, supplies, and gift certificates for the raffle were donated by Domino’s Pizza, Jersey Mike’s, Advance Auto Parts, Auto Zone, Dollar General, Captain Larry’s, Bill Evans Company, Laurinburg First Baptist Church, Dimple’s and Diamonds, Dot’s Hair-Tanning-Nails, Tara’s Styles and Tanning, Hampton Inn, Moore Kuts, Belinda English Cakes, The Right Look, B&B Radiators, Mamie’s Diner, Cox Auto Performance, Whitney Norton, and Savy Salon in Rockingham. Also, many baked goods were donated by community members to be sold.
“The turnout Saturday was just amazing even though it was cold,” said Baxley. “The windchill started at 10, but we had double lines of cars going down the road.”
The event raised more than $3,000, which was hand delivered to the Clarks on Sunday afternoon. At that point, Brayden was breathing 60 percent independently. Though he still has some RSV in one lung, Brayden’s ventilator was removed on Tuesday. He is currently receiving physical therapy to regain muscle strength after being on life support for two weeks
“I use to think Laurinburg was just a small little town filled with nothing but horrible people and things, but now I see the true meaning of a ‘small town,’” Courtney Clark said in a Facebook update on her son’s condition. “When it comes to helping a family or someone in need we all come together as one big family and no matter how far the Army takes us, Laurinburg will always be home in our hearts.”
Anyone who wishes to send a card or donation to Brayden’s family may send them to his grandmother Bernice Oxendine at 234 Plaza Road Apt. 228B, Laurinburg, NC 28352.