Walking for Bryson and His Journey  

We don’t just walk to get exercise, or take pictures for social media, or to tell our friends we completed a 5K, but we walk every year to support Bryson’s journey, and all the heroes who have kept him alive and well. Even though he doesn’t know it yet, we walk for him.

We walk because he has gone through hardships that no one his age should ever have to endure.

We walk because our strength will carry him through life no matter what he faces.

We walk to show him that we love him.

We walk because we all look different in our own way.

We walk because we can when others may not be able to.

We walk for the children and adults who were born with congenital melanocytic nevi who have passed away.

We walk for those who are our nevus family.

We walk for those in pain.

We walk to show support.

We walk to show love. Showing the importance of giving back is what we will continue to do as parents forever. We give back to the place that keeps our son alive and healthy.

We walk for all our doctors and medical teams in our pediatric office in Bethel Park. We walk for Dr. Grunwaldt, our surgeon and her amazing team. We walk for Dr. Kress, our dermatologist. We walk for our neurology team. We walk for Dr. Reyes, our pathologist and the tissue bank we donate to right here in Pittsburgh, and to all the teams of professionals who have seen Bryson to give the best care possible.

We walk for our family and friends who have been a huge support system for our family.

We walk. We will always walk.

As parents, we’ve learned that watching your child go through any kind of hardship is the hardest thing we’ll ever have to do. But, we also found out that our son faces hurdles in life with such resilience. He is truly a superhero, as he has faced many challenges during the first few years of his childhood, and has taught us to be strong for him and our family.

Bryson was born with a rare condition, congenital melanocytic nevus (CMN). One in 500,000 people are born with giant moles, and very little research exists. After seeing many specialists, we concluded that Bryson’s large mole should be removed. Our amazing surgeon and her team guided us through the intense process of skin expansion using skin expanders, or as we called them at home, bubbles. During this process, we got to meet Dr. Reyes, the chief of pathology at Children’s. He and his team are some of the very few to conduct research on these very rare giant nevi. There are only two tissue banks for giant moles in the entire world – one in France and the other is right HERE in Pittsburgh! We completed the paperwork for Dr. Reyes to get Bryson’s tissue from all surgeries donated to this research in hopes to find the reason for this rare disease.

After completing only two rounds of skin expansion, our amazing plastic surgeon, Dr. Grunwaldt, and her fabulous team, were able to completely remove the remaining mole! Bryson has a brand-new belly button and a scar that wraps about 75 percent around his torso.

He will continue to be monitored by his dermatologist for his entire life. Bryson has had five surgeries all by the age of 3 years old. We walk for him.

To learn more about the Walk for Children’s, visit walkforchildrens.com.