Haunted houses aiming to make terminal 12-year-old’s wish come true

DENHAM SPRINGS– A 12-year-old from Denham Springs with a severe condition recently expressed his wish to visit a haunted house, and several companies are working to make that wish come true.

Brady Larson suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). DMD is one of the most severe forms of inherited muscular dystrophy. No known treatment stops the progression of the disease. According to research, affected patients usually die in their twenties due to respiratory muscle weakness or cardiomyopathy.

After learning of the heartbreaking revelation that her son is suffering from a terminal condition, Brady’s mother, Sherry Larson, pivoted to making a bucket list for the pre-teen.

“He loves scary stuff. He’s always talked about wanting to go to a haunted house,” she said. “He loves to be scared. Halloween is his favorite. He’s never been able to go in one. He’s talked about it forever and ever. He’s never been able to walk far. Now he can’t walk long distances at all. He will need a wheelchair in the next year.”

One local place stepping up to provide the young man with an experience is 13th Gate Haunted House in Baton Rouge.

The opening night at 13th Gate is Sept. 29th at 6 p.m. Brady’s special tour will begin at 5:30 p.m. He will be the first guest that night. He will bring some of his friends to join him.

“We heard he’s having a lot of health concerns, and we wanted to help in any way we could,” said a representative with 13th Gate. “We learned he loves haunted houses, and my staff and I all agree that it would be a great experience to come out to the 13th Gate. We learned it from the article that was posted to UWK. It’s great that we can do positive things like this, and we’re very happy we can do this for him. It’s nice to give back to the community.”

He said he called Brady’s mother to share the news after they read about his story.

“She was very excited when I called,” he said. “She was very surprised at the outpouring of support and the amount of calls she’s received from the haunted house industry. It was heartwarming to be able to help for sure.”

Rise Haunted House in Tickfaw, Netherworld Haunted House near Atlanta, Georgia, and The Myrtles in St. Francisville are other places that reached out to Brady’s family.

“It’s not very often that we could do something like that for someone in need and do something special for them, so it just means a lot to us to be able to give back to people out there,” said Mindi Pleaisance with Rise. “This is a unique industry, and we’re not always able to have that opportunity.”

When Brady’s mother confirms the visit to Rise, her son will get a private tour.

“We’re run by family, and we have kind of an open door policy, and we love to share what we enjoy doing,” said Shontay Laiche, one of the owners of Rise. “If we can make that dream a reality for him, we would love to have that opportunity.”

The Myrtles owner, Morgan Moss, said Brady visited them Sept. 9 and had a good time. He stayed in a cottage, and there was an evening mystery tour. They ate dinner at Restaurant 1796, all at no cost.

“We were just touched by his story and dreadful for his situation,” Moss said. “That’s a heartbreaking situation. The story had several of our friends and followers on it, and they reached out to us. We had an opportunity to shine a light for that young man, and it was pretty straightforward for us, so we wanted to make that happen for him.”

Sherry said a haunted house in Ohio invited Brady for a visit. Someone from Ohio is making him a custom mask and Brady chose Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s Leatherface.

“I was shocked and did not expect to get so many people that wanted to help my sweet boy,” she said. “I just wanted him to get into one haunted house. At first Brady didn’t like his name and face being out there but once I showed him all of the messages, he pepped up. He’s so excited.”

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