SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — It was a well-kept secret. Everyone knew but him.
CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier surprised Benton’s Hunter Briery with a special honor he earned after dozens of surgeries, hard work and learning to walk over and over again.
He was named our area Children’s Miracle Network hospital’s “champion.” Hunter received the title for his determination not to let his disorder define him.
Each year, CHRISTUS Shreveport-Bossier — our area CMN Hospital — selects a patient to become its champion. That representative shares their inspirational story with the community and works as an ambassador for the hospital.
Hunter’s story is far more than inspiring. It’s almost unimaginable.
He was born with spina bifida, a birth defect that affects a person’s spinal cord, legs and muscles. He’s undergone 22 surgeries and learned how to walk again four times.
"We were given a baby that we didn’t know what the future would hold, but it’s turned out to be better than we could’ve ever expected,” said Donna Briery, Hunter’s mom.
“If our story can help another family, then this is what this is all about.”
Donna explained how hard it has been to watch her son learn to walk again when we first introduced the ArkLaTex to Hunter during Miracle Monday in 2017.
“It’s very daunting and it’s very hard to see him stand up and fall, stand up and fall. And then that one day when he gets it, it’s just the best feeling.”
Now her son’s struggles turn into motivation, to share this champion and his courage with others.
“It’s heartbreaking whenever he has to go through the surgeries and then watch him recover,” said Chris Briery, Hunter’s dad. “But it’s uplifting when he goes through it and then here his is walking and talking, doing great. And then also able to help some other people, so it’s inspirational to me.”
Hunter goes to CHRISTUS Kids Clinic twice a week for therapy. His therapists describe him as sweet and witty.
“He’s a jokester and he’s kind of competitive, so that’s fun in therapy," said Sally Connella, one of Hunter’s therapists.
Connella worked with Hunter after his most recent surgery. "We work on strengthening his legs, range of motion in his legs, working on coordination, balance."
Now Hunter will balance school, therapy and being the face of our area Children’s Miracle Network hospital as its champion.
Sponsored by CHRISTUS Health Shreveport-Bossier, Your Children’s Miracle Network Hospital