A big day for Brody

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Jan. 26 was Brody’s day.


The 5-year-old Sequim boy and brain cancer survivor was treated to one of the best days of his life.


After a morning trip to the Olympic Game Farm and lunch at the Black Bear Diner, Brody and his family came home to a crowd of grinning family and friends.


“He was jumping for joy all this morning,” his grandma Karen Kuznek-Reese said.


“Yeah, he was excited even though he didn’t know what was coming,” Grandpa Robb Reese added.


A few minutes after Brody arrived, a whir went into the air and his eyes lit up. He knew something fun was coming.


In pulled a fire truck and crew from the Port Angeles Fire Department led by Lt. Kelly Ziegler who lifted Brody into the firetruck and gave him his own firefighter helmet.


Brody became acquainted with Ziegler and a dozen other firefighters while they constructed his clubhouse the past two weeks that he requested through the Make-A-Wish Foundation Alaska and Washington.


Ziegler answered an online posting by Barbara Carlson, the Port Angeles Make-A-Wish coordinator, to help grant Brody’s wish for a clubhouse in his backyard.


Previously, Brody received cancer treatment for both a primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET) and a mixed glioma tumor between stages 3 or 4 on Oct. 8, 2012, through May 28, 2013, at Seattle Children’s.

Doctors declared him cancer free in December 2013.


Alicia Neal, Brody’s mom, said while Brody was receiving treatment people told them about Make-A-Wish and his anesthesiologist put in the request on Brody’s behalf.


Shane Neal, Brody’s dad, said the whole experience with the clubhouse has been amazing.


“I couldn’t ask for anything else of these people,” he said.


“It symbolizes (the treatment) is behind us. It’s icing on the cake and this is his present for it.”


The clubhouse includes a slide, a porch that goes all around, a sandbox underneath and a flagpole for Brody’s pirate flag, all at his request similarly to one at grandma’s house.


“He was really excited,” Shane said. “When I’d ask him if he wanted anything different, he said no way.”


So far, Brody said his favorite part of the clubhouse is the slide. He’s gone down it 500 times, he said.


Brody also was a fan of the firefighters making a surprise visit.


He lives in Sequim off Woodcock Road with his dad and mom, Shane and Alicia Neal, and his three sisters — Taylor, 2 1/2, Myah, 1 1/2 and newborn Danny, 2 months old.


The Neals continue to receive medical bills for Brody’s treatment and donations are accepted on behalf of the Kuznek/Neal family at Sound Community Bank, 541 N. Fifth Ave.


Several agencies supported the project including: the Port Angeles Fire Department, Thomas Building Supply, Staples, Scott McLendon’s Hardware, Woodhouse Manor Playhouses, April Stein, Lowe’s Port Orchard, D&K Rental, Blake Tile & Stone, Home Depot, Black Bear Diner, Olympic Game Farm and Fred Meyer.


This year, Brody’s will be one of 320 wishes granted by Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington. Since 1986, they’ve granted 5,300 wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions.


For more information, call 800-304-9474 or visit


Reach Matthew Nash at


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