Braedon Brown, 11 but soon to be 12, is asking for something different for his birthday this year.
Braedon was attending Lakeview Elementary in Yukon, but he will be going to Yukon Middle School next year. He is a three-year-attendee of Knock Out Bullying Inc. events and has been attending Fishing with Friends since the event started last year.
“One of my favoritest parts is to help Knock Out Bullying help everyone, including people that have disorders like me,” Braedon said.
Braedon has autism, and Knock Out Bullying and founder and president Stacy Hatcher have a way of getting him out of his comfort zone, Braedon’s mom Barbara McElhaney said.
“Sometimes kids on the spectrum, they live in this box and they only do certain things, but she’s able to get him to do things. He’s bussed tables at CiCi’s before for Knock Out Bullying. For him to pick up other people’s dirty plates is very outside of his comfort zone, or to make a drink for somebody, or a lot for kids on the spectrum, just communicating is hard and for him to go up to strangers and be like, ‘can I help you? Do you need anything?’ She’s just able to get him to do things like that,” McElhaney added.
Braedon decided to have his birthday party at Fishing with Friends this year. The event, which Hatcher made Facebook official after McElhaney posted a video of Braedon’s idea on Facebook, is on Aug. 13.
“Interacting with people” is what Braedon said he’s most excited about for his birthday party.
Anyone is welcome to attend the event, just like any other Fishing with Friends event, but Braedon doesn’t want any gifts. Instead, he wants people to donate to Knock Out Bullying for his birthday.
“So we could help Knock Out Bullying knock out bullies and to stop bullies and stop bullying,” Braedon said.
People can donate money, or can also donate fishing supplies like “fish hooks, worms and other fishing utensils.”
Braedon said he’s unsure how his donations will help Knock Out Bullying, but he just wants to donate to one of his favorite services that’ll help stop bullying.
“I thought it was amazing. A lot of kids his age it’s ‘all about me and what can I get?’ But him wanting to do that is just amazing,” McElhaney said.
Braedon’s dad, Chris Brown, said it wasn’t surprising he wanted to donate instead of getting gifts for himself, referencing to when he gave up his Snoopy toy.
Snoopy was one of Braedon’s favorite toys, one that his parents tried to get him to give up for a while but he would never do it, until he thought someone else needed it more than him.
Braedon told the story of how he gave up his favorite toy to a little boy who lost his life. He wanted to put it on his grave.
“I put [Snoopy] on his grave, even though that would mean I would never get him back,” Braedon said.
What Braedon was referencing to was 2-year-old Chevy Lee, who died after being hit by a truck in February in front of the Colonial Hills Apartments on the 900 block of Cornwell Drive. A memorial was created at Colonial Hills, where people left flowers, toys and more.
“He has a very big heart, he’s a very caring little boy,” McElhaney said.
Braedon’s parents weren’t the only people impressed by his good deed. The Facebook video shared by McElhaney has been viewed more than 4,000 times with 135 shares as of presstime Wednesday.
Braedon was also nominated for News Channel 4’s “Pay It 4Ward.”
McElhaney said Braedon doesn’t know he’s been nominated, but they will be coming to congratulate him and present him with a check today.
Without spoiling the news, she asked Braedon what he would do if someone wanted to give him money to keep because of his good deed, but he was still adamant that any money he gets will go to Knock Out Bullying, no matter what.
Knock Out Bullying began in October 2013 with Hatcher, her daughter Katelynn and Katelynn’s best friend Destiny. Hatcher and Katelynn decided to start Fishing with Friends in May of last year because it was something they both knew that they could use to bring the community together.
It soon became Knock Out Bullying’s most popular event.
“Fishing can bring people together,” Hatcher previously said. “We just went off of something we knew that we could do. If we could get people to start coming out then maybe they could see each other in school or wherever, and if something is going on, then they can be like ‘hey, I know that person’ and then they may take up for them.”
Fishing with Friends is hosted from 4-6 p.m. every other Sunday until the weather gets cold at Route 66 Park, 9901 N.W. 23rd St. near Lake Overholser.
Children of all ages come together for the event from all over Canadian County.
Fishing with Friends is a family event and is open to anyone interested in attending. All fishing licenses and permits are applicable for anyone 16 and older. All minors should have adult supervision.
For more information on Fishing with Friends or for ideas on entertainment for Braedon’s Birthday Bash, visit the Facebook page “Fishing with Friends Knock Out Bullying, INC.” or contact Hatcher directly at 537-5112.
“I’m pretty sure I’m like the mascot now,” Braedon said of Fishing with Friends and Knock Out Bullying. “I wasn’t in the other three years, but I’m pretty sure now I am because of the whole birthday thing.”
To make a donation to Knock Out Bullying for Braedon’s birthday or to send Braedon a birthday card, send to PO Box 852126 Yukon, OK 73085.
“I love Knock Out Bullying because they help knock out bullying and help everyone that has been bullied. Basically bullying is pretty bad—it can cause things like suicide, and I want to stop that,” Braedon said.
“Everyone out there—please support Knock Out Bullying. Hashtag support it, and that is all.”
Braedon said he wants that to be the hashtag for his birthday bash on Aug. 13— #supportit.
Braedon loves to be outdoors, but he also loves YouTube and comics. He refers to himself as a “famous YouTuber” and he does all kinds of videos, including video blogs, singing and storytelling.
“I do all sorts of videos. I’m a big story teller. One day I think I want to write books—or fan fiction books, either way it’s a win/win,” Braedon explained.
Braedon doesn’t just like to tell one kind of story, but loves to tell stories about superheroes, action, fantasy, horror—“all sorts of stuff.”
McElhaney said he has a “very vivid imagination.”
To watch some of Braedon’s YouTube videos, visit www.youtube.com/channel/UCakneUQSnAte5sdPuQbexBg.
“I’m kind of a comic book and video game geek,” Braedon said.
Braedon said he doesn’t know how to play video games, but he likes to watch others play them and he wants to learn how. And although he loves all superheroes, Batman and Spiderman, both from DC Universe, are his “absolute favorites.” Braedon enjoys telling fan fiction stories on YouTube, especially within the DC Universe.
He also got to enjoy time Tuesday with his dad at Mustang Parks and Recreation’s “Superhero Day.”
Braedon expressed how lucky he is to have “two great dads,” his biological father and his stepfather. He said some people only have one and some people may not have a dad at all. Braedon said he’s happy he has the supportive family he has.
Braedon also shared how he’s lucky to understand of love.
“I’m glad I understand love because a lot of autistic kids don’t understand love. I’m glad I understand love. Love is family, friends, people you trust, teachers and many, many other people,” Braedon said.