Community steps up for 11-year-old boy and his family
Smith: ‘It goes to show what our community can do’
An 11-year-old boy in Cassville, along side his family, is the topic of a heavily circulated social media outreach and fundraiser called Kyle’s Care.
Kyle Berry, a vibrant 11-year-old Cassville fifth-grade student and Mighty Mite player, was born with Spina Bifida.
Amanda Berry, his mother, said usually it is diagnosed during pregnancy, but in Kyle’s case, he was diagnosed at birth.
Spina Bifida is a defect which is caused when the spine and spinal cord do not come together properly. Symptoms of the defect include bladder and bowel problems, weakness or loss of sensation below the defect and paralysis.
“I got all the tests when I was pregnant,” Amanda Berry said. “Everything was coming back just fine. With Spina Bifida, usually the baby leaks out spinal fluid, but his wasn’t like that, so it went undetected.”
The Berry family moved to Cassville from Arizona in the summer of 2018.
“My husband is from here,” she said. “In Arizona, he was getting services, but they weren’t the greatest, so we decided to come to Cassville.”
Still, due to some of the services he already receives, Kyle is only eligible for adult Medicaid.
“We came here to get him more physical therapy,” Berry said. “Also, every six months to a year, we travel to Kansas City to see a specialist.”
Kyle’s physical therapy is both local and non-local, so traveling is an important aspect in his treatment.
“Physical therapy is an out-of-pocket cost for us,” Berry said. “We have five children. We are a blended family, but we don’t see it like that.”
All of the children have been in each others’ lives since they were very young or from birth.
“Our children are all very supportive and they help out as much as they can,” she said. “There are times that we can’t afford certain things, and when it comes to Kyle, sometimes it is something he needs or deserves.”
Kyle’s dream is to at least have the chance to try to walk.
“His doctor in Kansas City told us about a surgery that could make that possible,” Berry said. “It could make it to where he could stand or walk which will help him with so many other things.”
The Berrys haven’t had a chance to speak further with his doctor about it due to the condition of their current vehicle.
“The van we have keeps breaking down,” she said. “We need a reliable vehicle that can fit all seven of us and is handicap accessible.”
Gage Smith, a friend and neighbor of the Berry family, heard about the issue and wanted to help.
“Nate and I were working on my truck, and he told me about the problem,” he said. “He wasn’t asking for help or anything — we were just talking. He told me what kinds of things they needed and what they would like to have.”
As it turned out, Smith works for Wood Motor Company in Jane, and he remembered a van that had just come in.
“It had a handicap accessible chair and it was exactly what they wanted,” Smith said. “However, they are on a fairly tight budget and just couldn’t afford the payments for that vehicle.”
Smith said the Toyota Sienna is a $30,000 vehicle.
“They had some money to put down on it, but we couldn’t get the payments to a manageable spot,” he said. “They are good people. Their children are always willing to help out with stuff, and I pay their oldest to pick rocks up in my yard.”
On Thursday, Smith decided to do something to help out the Berry family — a fundraiser on Facebook that has reached all corners of the county.
“It is just being neighborly, and that is what you are supposed to do, even if you aren’t neighbors,” Smith said. “The goal is to raise $7,500 to help get the payments for the van at a reasonable payments and help with sales tax.”
Between Thursday afternoon and Sunday evening, the fundraiser grew to only $1,000 from reaching its $7,500 goal.
“It goes to show what our community can do,” Smith said. “We rally together and take care of our people.”
Being a car salesman, Smith said he is happy to be in a position to help someone.
“They are just so overwhelmed by this support,” he said. “I would like to say thank you to everyone who has shared the post or donated to the cause.
“This will be paid forward. Even in a pandemic where people are out of work, they have still donated.”
Amanda Berry said she knew that moving her family to Cassville was the right choice.
“Everyone looks out for each other and helps,” she said. “But, we never expected something like this to happen for us. It is just so great.”
Berry said her son is incredibly sweet.
“He loves to pull pranks and be funny,” she said. “He is always happy and sociable. He plays football at Cassville, and they call him coach Kyle.”
Kyle loves to play with his brothers and does his best to keep up with them, even if that is a struggle sometimes.
“He is sweet, loving and thoughtful,” Berry said. “I wish we could give him more. As tough as it can be, we take it day by day and get through it.”
Once they are able to travel again, the Berry family intends to have more conversations with his doctor about the surgery that can help Kyle walk.
“Everybody and everything that has been done for us is so appreciated,” Berry said. “We are so thankful for so many good people who care and are so giving. I never imagined it would be like this.”
Gage Smith said people can donate to the cause on Facebook at https://tinyurl.com/y4mzslsn, or they may call Smith at 417-665-9721, to donate in another manner.