When Leigh McGregor’s son, Brady, turned nine years old, his only wish was to give nine children the ability to walk. Brady’s ambition and compassion for others prompted him to launch a fundraiser with MiracleFeet that ended up raising about $4,035 in Australian dollars.
For the McGregor family, Brady’s desire to help others walk is personal, as he was born with clubfoot. After suffering a total of five miscarriages prior to the birth of their eldest son Blake, Leigh and her husband said they were blessed when they became pregnant with Brady.
By the time Leigh was 18 weeks pregnant and had gone to the hospital for the usual ultrasound and to hopefully discover the baby’s gender, she was confident that this time would go smoothly and her baby would be perfectly healthy. Yet while the couple entered the sonographer’s room full of excitement and anticipation, Leigh began to worry once the scan showed her baby’s feet. “I knew straight away that something was not right,” Leigh said. “I could see that his feet were at a 90 degree angle and his toes were pointing toward one another.”
Though her husband tried to keep her calm when the sonographer went to go get a doctor, Leigh said her anxiety increased in those moments as her head was spinning with thoughts about her baby’s future. Then the moment came when the doctor informed the couple that their baby had Talipes, which is the medical term for clubfoot. “It was such a scary time,” Leigh said. “We had been told our baby had something wrong and no one seemed to be willing to tell us anything about it. These were the days of early smartphones, but I had no internet access so I couldn’t even Google search ‘Talipes’!”
As time went on and the McGregor family learned more about Brady’s condition, they eventually discovered MiracleFeet through online clubfoot groups that Leigh joined. Once Brady received treatment and became more active in the organization himself, he wanted to start fundraising.
“He is well aware that, being born in Australia, it affords him a quality of life that others don’t have,” Leigh said. “He has access to world-class treatment and health services, and he wanted to help others who were not so fortunate.”
Brady’s fundraising strategy had several components. For the past three years he has run a double-header basketball game with the help of the state champion men’s and women’s teams from the Ringwood Hawks. This led to fundraising events to celebrate World Clubfoot Day and raise awareness about the condition. Brady also did a “Crazy Sock Day” at his school, which resulted in $1,010 in donations! Leigh also said that a basketball teammate of Brady’s who goes to a different school was then inspired to help Brady’s fundraiser. He put together a ‘Treat Day’ at school and ended up collecting $1,070.
“Keep in mind these are 9 year old boys who have done this,” she said.
While Brady knew his original goal would likely be reached, he still wanted the basketball fundraiser to be as successful as possible. He had wristbands made with the #clubfootwarrior hashtag. This is his Instagram handle and he wanted to sell as many as he could that night. He also approached many businesses to see if they would be willing to donate prizes to give away.
“We had a lot of success with this,” Leigh said. “One company in particular, Socks for Living, donated Stance basketball socks for both the men’s and women’s teams to wear on the night of the fundraiser! It was awesome.” Additionally, the McGregor family said that the organization Basketball Victoria donated a signed Dante Exum (an Australian NBA player) jersey to auction off. At the fundraiser they ended up selling 300 wristbands and someone bid $550.00 for the jersey.
Leigh said that MiracleFeet made it possible for the fundraising to go so well, and for Brady to exceed his goals in reaching families in need. She hopes that other families interested in fundraising will take the risk, as it does have a communal impact on those affected by clubfoot. “You might believe that you are raising money to enable someone to access clubfoot treatment, but really you are impacting on more than just the child,” she said. “You are enabling a whole community to have another contributing member. That is what makes Miraclefeet amazing.”
MiracleFeet would like to thank Leigh for her kind words and endless support. To Brady, you will forever be our clubfoot champion and warrior! Your whole family is truly inspiring. Thank you for sharing your story.