Brynn’s buddies

Siblings share strong connection despite disability

Last+year%2C+current+senior+Brett+Hedges+took+a+picture+with+his+sister%2C+freshman+Brynn+Hedges+just+after+winning+the+game+against+Waco+Midway+High+School.+The+win+in+round+three+of+the+playoffs+allowed+the+varsity+baseball+team+to+advance+to+the+regional+semi-finals.+
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Brynn’s buddies

Last year, current senior Brett Hedges took a picture with his sister, freshman Brynn Hedges just after winning the game against Waco Midway High School. The win in round three of the playoffs allowed the varsity baseball team to advance to the regional semi-finals.

Last year, current senior Brett Hedges took a picture with his sister, freshman Brynn Hedges just after winning the game against Waco Midway High School. The win in round three of the playoffs allowed the varsity baseball team to advance to the regional semi-finals.

Last year, current senior Brett Hedges took a picture with his sister, freshman Brynn Hedges just after winning the game against Waco Midway High School. The win in round three of the playoffs allowed the varsity baseball team to advance to the regional semi-finals.

Last year, current senior Brett Hedges took a picture with his sister, freshman Brynn Hedges just after winning the game against Waco Midway High School. The win in round three of the playoffs allowed the varsity baseball team to advance to the regional semi-finals.

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The bell that ended second period rang throughout campus and the halls were flooded with students as usual. Senior varsity baseball player Brett Hedges was walking down the hall when he heard his sister’s voice.

“Hey homie!”

She embraced him in a hug followed by their special handshake, which consists of hand slaps and fist bumps. She’s more than willing to demonstrate for those who ask. This interaction is an everyday occurrence for Brett and his sister, freshman Brynn Hedges. Even though Brynn has Down Syndrome, it hasn’t affected how close they are. The siblings have always shared a special connection for as long as they can remember.

“She’s taught me more about life and how to live than anybody or anything ever will,” Brett said.

Around 10 years ago, the Hedges family decided to partner with the Down Syndrome Guild of Dallas to create a team just for Brynn during their annual one and a half mile Buddy Walk. Their team name is Brynn’s Buddies, and the walk raises both money and awareness for kids like Brynn who have Down Syndrome.

“It’s one day every year when 100 percent of the focus is for Brynn and Brynn alone,” Brett said. “She’s the most magnificent person I know in my life… she’s my hero and she’s very impactful on anybody she meets, regardless of her disability.”

When the Hedges’ initially talked about taking part in the Buddy Walks, Brett said he was too young to quite understand the magnitude of it. However, Brett said when he got there, he was able to grasp that it was important and a great opportunity for Brynn to have her own day.

“The coolest thing is seeing how small it started… and how big it is now,” Brett said. “You always know how many people she touches, but to really visually see everybody coming together for her is amazing.”

Friends, family and the varsity baseball team show up to support Brynn year after year. She has always been heavily involved in her brother’s baseball career, consistently going to Brett’s games and practices.

“Oh, it was awesome… Just her face of ‘these are all my people’,” varsity baseball coach Jeff Sherman said. “And that’s what we’re there for.”

Brynn said she loves baseball because it’s something Brett loves too. Sherman said that during every game you can always hear her cheering from the stands. After they’re finished playing, Brett also said that she’s waiting in the dugout to high five all the players and coaches.

“All the players love her, she loves the guys. She has the whole roster memorized by name, number, who it is, what position,” Brett said. “She loves baseball and baseball loves her.”

Sherman said that Brynn’s positive energy has had a lasting effect on the team and is a major reason why their team chemistry is so strong.

“I think I learn more from her than us trying to help her.” Sherman said. “I think it goes both ways.”

Sherman said that watching Brett and Brynn’s relationship has been incredible. Brett has been on the varsity team for two years now, and Sherman described him as a selfless team player, which he attributed to his relationship with Brynn.

“Brett’s a really hard worker and he’s a competitor at the same time,” Sherman said. “You can tell that he definitely has a why or a purpose for why he plays the game, I think a lot of that has to do with his sister.”

Brett remembers times when they didn’t have a good game and Sherman had gotten onto them, until saw Brynn in the dugout. Brett said Sherman’s “entire mood flipped.” They gave each other a big hug, high fives and fist bumps.

“First and foremost, Brynn is the most positive person,” Sherman said. “Everytime that you’re around her, even if you’re in a bad mood, you’re going to smile because she’s going to make you smile.”

Sherman knew that Brynn was going to be a freshman for Brett’s senior season, so she was offered a manager position on the team.

“Even before I was a varsity player, [Sherman] knew specifically who my sister was and had a great appreciation for what type of person she was,” Brett said. “They have this connection, they’re like best buddies.”

In addition to being a baseball manager, Brynn is also a cheerleader on the freshman team. Brynn said she felt happy and glad when she found out that she made the cheer team.

“The amount of lives she’s able to touch through that is awesome,” Brett said. “I love seeing it, you know, whenever we’re going through town and more people know her than know me.”

While some people don’t quite know how to treat or react to her, Brett said that Brynn is widely loved and negativity towards her is a rare occurrence.

“Give them a chance. Don’t be freaked out. I promise you, Down Syndrome kids are the most genuine people you will ever meet,” Brett said. “If you love them, they will love you. Brynn’s a great example.”

Brett describes Brynn as a teacher. He said she’s taught him everything from not making a big deal over small things to how to treat people with love and kindness. He’s watched his sister come a long way. She was born not only with Down Syndrome, but also a hole in her heart and was underweight for a period of time. Brett remembers being four years old, laying next to her incubator, wondering if his sister was going to make it. Now, he said she’s full of life and energy. She loves to talk to people and rarely gets upset.

“The biggest lesson she could teach anybody is to love everybody the way she does,” Brett said. “Because if that happened, the world would be very different.”

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