Jordan Brady was only 8 months old when he got his first pair of glasses. While they helped his vision, the infant used them mostly as an “expensive chew toy,” his mother Courtney said with a chuckle.
“He was always pulling them down and chewing on them,” she said. “Always.”
October is a difficult month for the family, as last week marked the second anniversary of Jordan’s sudden death. The family wanted to do something positive to honor their 1-year-old son’s memory, and with the help of friends launched a book drive to benefit Hays-area children.
Approximately 135 copies of the Usborne children’s book “Little Bear Needs Glasses” were donated to the family by their friends, family and other community members who wanted to honor Jordan’s memory. Many copies were donated by staff members at First Care Clinic, where Jordan’s father, Bryan Brady, is CEO.
Organizers said they were “blown away” by the generous response. The books will be given to Hays optometry clinics, including the office of Dr. Stacey Jones and Dr. Kendall Krug — which is where both Jordan and his older brother, Jake, received their first glasses.
“They were the first one I contacted to see if they would be willing to donate a book to the children when they got their glasses,” said Lauren McNeil, a family friend who helped organize the book drive. “They asked me how many copies, and I said, ‘Oh, maybe five to 10.’ And then over 100 later, I was like oh my gosh.”
The books, which include sticker glasses children can place on the colorful illustrations, are intended to help young children feel more comfortable when they are getting their first glasses.
A small assembly line was formed at the Bradys’ home Friday morning, as the two families unwrapped each book and put a sticker on the back with Jordan Brady’s name and the phrase “forever in our hearts.”
His older brother, Jake, 10, proudly was removing plastic covering from each of the books.
“My religion teacher said I would always have a perfect saint up in heaven,” Jake said.
Jordan’s death was unexpected; Courtney Brady said she discovered their son had stopped breathing. She performed CPR and called 911, and the 1-year-old child was transported to Wichita, where he died a few days later from aspiration.
His obituary said Jordan “spread joy to everyone he met and was quick to share his sweet demeanor and smile.”
The family keeps Jordan’s memory close, with a cabinet in the dining room full of gifts and keepsakes. Several of his organs also were donated, and the family takes comfort in knowing their son potentially helped save the lives of three other people.
“It’s definitely a life-changer,” Courtney Brady said, “but we’re trying to use it for good.”