CLARENCE, NY- He's a little boy who has captivated hearts and inspired souls around the world. Doctors call him a medical mystery, and now, Chase Britton is working to reach a new milestone and he's getting there with the help of his new best friend.
2 On Your Side first met Chase Britton in early 2011. He was a medical mystery to doctors, and still is. Chase has an incredibly rare condition; he was born without a trace of his Cerebellum.
That's the part of the brain that plays a major role in motor control, balance, coordination, emotional control, language and learning. Chase is also missing his pons, a structure that regulates basic functions, like sleeping and breathing.
Despite the odds, last year Chase started school and he continues to grow and develop every day.
"Chase just turned six. He's in 1st grade and he's doing excellent," said his mother, Heather Britton. "He's counting to 30 now. He's spelling short words. He's reading books by recognizing the pictures and associating words with pictures."
He's certainly surpassed all expectations from doctors, but the Brittons have set their sights even higher.
"We've always known he doesn't have the balance but we're finding new ways to get him up and moving," she said.
Chase's new best friend, his service dog, is one of those ways. He took to the dog, and leaned on it for support and balance almost immediately.
Now the nearly two-year-old lab/great dane mix named Missa is part of the Britton family. They were placed together by Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities, or ECAD, after a long application, selection, and training process. And Chase just went back to the facility downstate this week for more training.
Heather says the $8,500 investment was worth every penny.
"They're worth $25,000 to $30,000 once they're all trained."
And what is Heather's hope for her son?
"My main hope is that he's up and walking without anything as far as equipment around him. Just the dog."
Now family friend, Patty Walker, who met the Brittons after watching their stories on 2 On Your Side is planning a fundraiser and splitting the profits between ECAD and the Brittons.
"It's just turning into a great thing where we can help ECAD through raising awareness and raising funds for ECAD and also for the Brittons. We're hoping to raise funds for pet food and supplies and veterinary care for Missa," Walker said. "They touched my heart and I wanted to do something for them."
The fundraiser is September 21, 2013, at Pet Supplies Plus on Transit Road in East Amherst. It's runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.. There will be food and goodies for people and their dogs, plus coloring contests, nail trimmings and much more.