EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

May 6, 2013

Lawrence 6th-grader gets to live hockey dream while dealing with life-threatening illness

Salem State University Vikings draft Bryen Davies to be their teammate for fall hockey season.

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Taking care of her son demands constant monitoring of his diet (a high-caloric intake) with night-time feedings necessary, various tests to make sure he’s breathing easily and keeping a close eye on the weather.

“When it’s really humid and hot, he can’t be outside because it’s hard to breathe,” Brenda said.

“And when he has a cold, he has to be careful because it can get chronic,” she said.

Brenda said she has to confer with Bryen’s new teachers every year to brief them on potentially hazardous situations that Bryen may face in his school.

Meanwhile, Bryen has a good outlook on life and has learned to accept his condition and how to make adjustments, according to his mother.

“He’s very aware of his situation and is not shy to talk about his illness,” Brenda said.

“His feeding tube, he considers his ‘extra belly button,’” she said.

Bryen’s dad James Hadley said this has been a good year for his son, who received a special trip from the Make-A-Wish Foundation in January. The family got to travel to Phoenix, where Bryen got to meet his wrestling idol John Cena. Born in West Newbury, Cena is the current WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) champion.

“He (Bryen) loves wrestling. A couple of players on the Salem State hockey team love wrestling too, so he has something to talk to them about now,” Hadley said.

“Being on the hockey team is going to be a great experience. I think this program (Team IMPACT) is good for kids. It’s going to help a lot of kids out and motivate them so they won’t be stuck at home all the time,” he said.

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