Program for ill children now part of Bruce Brady’s legacy

Published 6:00 am Monday, March 19, 2001

When an outdoor enthusiast envisioned a program that wouldprovide unforgettable experiences for children withlife-threatening illnesses, he never realized it would be his wife,children and friends who would carry it through after hisdeath.

“We just think of it as an opportunity to serve,” said PeggyBrady, widow of Bruce Brady Sr.

During his life, Brady Sr. found peace in outdoor activities,especially through his job as a field editor for Outdoor Lifemagazine, said his family members.

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As the father of three and grandfather of 13, he was especiallyaware of he need to provide young people with opportunities toenjoy the wonders of nature.

“He saw the spiritual side of outdoors. He didn’t see it asMother Nature. He saw it as the Creator’s hand,” said Bruce BradyJr.

Brady Sr. realized that many people didn’t have theopportunities he was given, so he came up with the Catch-A-Dreamprogram to let sick children experience the benefits of nature.

Catch-A-Dream is similar to other national programs, such as theMake A Wish Foundation, with one major exception: material itemsare not the focus.

“What we’re trying to do is plug in some of the holes outthere,” said Mike Taylor, one of Brady’s sons-in-law.

The Brady family has witnessed how personal experiences outdoorscan help heal the sick in a way by providing them with goodmemories. Brady Sr. often resorted to nature while battling cancerbefore he passed away in February 2000.

“When he was ill, he drew strength from being able to gooutdoors when he could,” said Peggy Brady, remembering how herhusband savored his experiences when he couldn’t go out.

Brady Sr., an accomplished sculptor, also reflected his love forthe outdoors in his art.

Catch-A-Dream will encompass activities such as hunting,fishing, camping and hiking. One child’s wish was already grantedin January with a weekend hunting trip.

Richard Dickson Jr. of Greene County has battled T-Cell Lymphomafor three years, but now he has the memory of an outdoor adventureto help him cope with his illness.

During the trip, the 13-year-old boy killed a five-pointwhitetail buck in Alabama. He was accompanied by members of theBrady family and Catch-A-Dream team members. The trip was similarto many of Brady Sr.’s experiences.

Children whose dreams are granted through Catch-A-Dream must beunder age 18, be residents of Mississippi and be recommended to theprogram.

Catch-A-Dream is a result of partnership between the Bradyfamily, 4-H Foundation, the Mississippi Wildlife Federation andMississippi State University’s Department of Wildlife andFisheries.

“Some of the experiences will also be made possible by in-kinddonations,” said Dr. Spencer Mooney, another Brady son-in-law.

In-kind donations will involve people volunteering their skills,such as guiding a raft during a white water trip or showing someonehow to fish. The Brady family is hopeful that such skilled peoplewill want to become involved in the program.

“We’re excited because we’ve already had a lot of people expressan interest,” said Janie Mooney, one of Brady’s daughters.

Anyone interested in learning more about the Catch-A-Dreamprogram can contact Dr. Marty Brunson of MSU’s department ofwildlife and fisheries at (662) 325-3174.