At five years old, Brody Locklear doesn’t understand why he can’t play dodge ball or t-ball like his friends. He knows that he has to take medicine; he just doesn’t know why.
The reason is that Brody has hypoplastic left heart syndrome. He was diagnosed with the rare defect that leaves the left side of the heart underdeveloped, when his mom, Ariel, was 18 weeks pregnant.
Immediately after he was born at Ohio State University, Brody was transported to the nearby Nationwide Children’s Hospital, where he received his first heart surgery when he was 16 hours old. He has had two more surgeries at Nationwide since then which has caused his mom to be away from the rest of their family in Lumberton, sometimes a month at a time.
Working with volunteer wish granters Gail Boggs
and Sherry Lamberth
, Brody decided to have a pool for his wish. His inspiration came during swimming lessons that he took at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, when he saw that the pool had a basketball in it.
His wish was made possible by local business owners coming together with generous discounts allowing Make-A-Wish to grant Brody's wish. The pool was delivered by Fayetteville-based Hallmark Spa & Pools, a long-time supporter of Make-A-Wish® Eastern North Carolina. Dennis Smith of The Pool Master in Wilson installed Brody's pool. The wish also included an attached deck built and installed by Eddie Guyton, owner of All Build Home Improvements and Repairs of Hope Mills.
Several family members, friends and supporters were present at his wish party that featured a barbeque cookout, desserts, a special cake and of course swimming in the pool. Throughout the party, everyone kept encouraging Brody to get something to eat and spend time with his guests. He politely asked if he could just keep swimming instead.
“We feel blessed as a family,” said Brody’s mom. “Swimming is something that Brody can do. He has his own sport in the backyard. With this pool, he feels part of a group.”