Oakley is an artist, a gardener, a brother, and a fighter.
"Oakley has spina bifida," says his mother, Danielle St. Amand. "His life is very complex. And his body is very different. But he will find a way to overcome anything."
Oakley spent five years of his life at a hospital that left him with post-traumatic stress disorder, terrified for the surgeries, check-ups, and consultations his condition requires. It was only when his family moved him to Mary Bridge Children's Hospital that he began to heal emotionally.
Oakley bonded with the doctors and nurses there, thanks to his love of Pokémon. That made visits a little less scary.
"It just kind of made him less afraid of people," St. Amand said. "Because he sees doctors and he gets scared. So when you have that bond, and that kind of friendship, it opens him up a little bit."
For St. Amand, Mary Bridge Children's Hospital's new location in Gig Harbor makes all of the difference.
"There's ophthalmology, endocrine, neurosurgery, neurology, sleep neurology, the infusion clinic, GI, and several of the surgeons," St. Amand said.
Everyone Oakley needs, close by — which means the world to his mother after having to drive from Port Orchard to Tacoma for many of his appointments. But just as important? The human element.
"I want to say I can give him everything, but I get drained," St. Amand said. "So when somebody else is there just to pick him up a little bit, that lasts a really long time for him ... I can just take a breath for five minutes and know that he's good for a couple hours."
And the care that Mary Bridge Children's Hospital provides means that Oakley can concentrate on what he does best.
"He's doing tap dancing now, he's doing acting," St. Amand said. "And those are things that he enjoys because he's still using his body in positive ways."
If you'd like to donate to the Mary Bridge Children’s Foundation so they can continue their lifesaving work and research, click this link here.