COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — A chance encounter between two little boys both being treated at Nationwide Children’s Hospital has blossomed into a friendship.
This story of this chance encounter starts back in October of 2022. Brady Martin, a 10-year-old from Canal Winchester was wrapping up a chemotherapy appointment when his family met a little boy named Felix Nesler. The soon-to-be two-year-old was undergoing a series of burn treatments for an injury to his chest.
In an exclusive interview with NBC4, both Felix’s mother Kelley Nesler and Brady’s mother Kristin Martin said the day they met was just one of those emotionally draining days of treatment. It was after a full day of appointments when Nesler said her family joined the Martins on a packed elevator.
“It’s one of those things where it’s a bad combination of anesthesia, tired, hungry, everything,” Kelley Nesler said. “He was throwing things. We couldn’t get out of there fast enough.”
Nesler said it was Brady who noticed how upset Felix was in the elevator. Brady, at this point, had mastered consoling those having a tough time. He says he started giving away stuffed animals to make the trips to the hospital a little better. That small project then morphed into a nonprofit called Way to Battle, which donates stuffed dogs to those in need of companionship as they battle some of the obstacles of life.
On the day of the chance encounter, Brady had no more stuffed pups to donate, so he gave young Felix his personal pup named Nutter Butter.
“Nutter Butter was the stuffed animal my son had had with him during every procedure and every infusion,” Kristin Martin said.
“He was just like, ‘I’ll give him Nutter Butter,’ and all I could think of was, ‘I don’t think you know what you’re doing,’” Martin said. “’Are you sure? Are you sure.’”
Without giving it a second thought, Brady gave his own pup to Felix.
Kelley Nesler was touched by the act, but at the time, completely unaware of who this boy was or his family’s mission. She said it wasn’t until a sleepless night that she did some digging, and it was then she learned about Battle Pups, Brady, and his own health battle. It was then she also learned that their pup was a special donation.
“I think of Brady and this story and he’s the bravest, the kindest, the most thoughtful sweet person that I don’t even know,” she said. “It’s like I don’t actually know him but in the random, very short encounter, I’m blown away.”
These moms and both of these families are working to navigate the twists and turns of caring for a child in need, and they are now bonded in an unusual way.
If you would like to learn how to nominate someone going through a tough battle to receive a battle pup, or donate to Way To Battle, click here. To follow Brady’s cancer journey, check out his Facebook page.