Age 9 Boy Raises Nearly $6,000 in Two Hours for Baby Brother with Rare Disease


Nine-year-old Andrew Emery was ecstatic to finally be a big brother. When his mother announced her pregnancy, Andrew was hoping for a baby boy.

“I wanted her to have a boy. There’s too many girls at home,” Andrew said.

When his baby brother, Dylan, was born, however, Dylan was diagnosed with Krabbe disease. The neurological disorder develops in infants and usually results in death by 2 years of age.

Dylan is now fighting for his life, but his older brother is not giving up.

Like most children, Andrew set up a lemonade stand in his community to raise money. But instead of putting the money in his own pocket, he wanted to donate it to his brother’s cause and help his parents pay for medical bills.

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By selling lemonade, “#TeamDylan” t-shirts and stickers, Andrew was able to raise $5,860 for his brother.

“I’m gonna spend it on doctor’s bills and stuff, and buy him a teddy bear too,” Andrew said. “I just want to help Dylan. He’s my baby brother.”

Dylan is currently still in a Pittsburgh hospital where his parents are seeking medical advice for the incurable disease.

“It’s really hard to explain to a 9-year-old what’s happening. From the minute he found out he was going to be a big brother, he was in love with it,” Kristal Nelson, the boys’ mother, said. “I see every day that he’s special, and now everybody else can, too.”

A GoFundMe account has also been set up to help raise money for the cause. As of Tuesday morning, the fundraiser has raised over $13,000 in addition to Andrew’s lemonade stand.

A benefit concert was also held on May 25 and brought in $1,300 with performances by Jackson Station and Johnny Badlove.

“The calls, texts, thoughts and prayers have been continuous and so numerous we can’t count. We r so appreciative!! Please keep them coming because we r grasping at each one to help us through the day. For the people who are doing fundraisers and donating,” Nelson wrote on the Team DYLAN Facebook page.

“I will never be able to repay u for helping us but please know we r so thankful and I pray that God will bless u to the end of the earth!!”

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Andrew talks to his brother regularly on FaceTime and Dylan is expected to come home sometime this week. “I’m going to hug him,” Andrew said.

Our thoughts and prayers are with this family as they continue to fight, and we are inspired by the big heart of this little boy.

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith