VALDOSTA -- Carol Brown is glad to listen to her son's complaints these days. She is just proud that he is alive.

On Sunday, as she raced to South Georgia Medical Center from Ray City, she only knew that her 10-year-old son had been shot.

"Brody asked if he could spend Sunday morning with his friends because the weather had been so bad and they hadn't gotten to play the day before," she said. "One thing for sure, the boys were not playing with the gun or fighting."

Brown said her son and his 10-year-old friend were watching TV.

His friend's 8-year-old brother was loading a shotgun when it accidentally fired, with the most of the pellets striking Brody in his right left below the knee. They were all waiting to go target practice with the brother's daddy, she said.

"We're not blaming anyone," she said. "The boy's daddy had stepped outside for just a minute when the gun fired and he immediately came in and took Brody to Louis Smith Hospital. We're not sure how it missed the other boy's leg. All three boys have been devastated by all of this."

She, husband Mark and Brody have been overwhelmed by the Lakeland community's support.

"There has been a steady stream of people here to see Brody," she said. "There have been cards, candy and even a Gameboy bought for him to keep him from being bored."

Surgeons removed part of his right leg below the knee where the damage was so bad. Brown said he will remain at SGMC until he is released to the Shriner's Hospital in Tampa.

There he will receive a prosthesis.

Although her family lives at Birmingham near a Shriner's Hospital, they decided it would be too long a trip for Brody in a van.

"I was always in the Shriner's beauty pageants when I was young, never thinking of anything like this," she said. "I would like to be near my family, but that's too far for Brody to ride."

Since Brody has been at SGMC, he's talked to people who have lost limbs also.

"We've had people we didn't even know who heard about Brody while they were visiting someone a the hospital come talk with him," she said. "They've told him about all of the things they been able to do with their prosthesis. He's been worried that he will not be able to run and play."

For Brown, the past week has been spent at Brody's side in the hospital. She said God, prayer and the support of the community have sustained them through this ordeal.

"I just thank God he is alive," she said. "We just appreciate all the support, prayers and the how the community has come together. Brody said he never knew this many people like him."



To contact Tanya B. O'Berry, call 244-3400, ext. 239.

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