Community Helps Wheeling Boy With Brittle Bones Disease Spread Awareness

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In Wheeling on Monday, a five-year-old boy got a pretty special surprise. 

Merrick Graves has had dozens of broken bones, five major surgeries, and is living with Osteogenesis Imperfecta, or Brittle Bones Disease. 

Every year, Wishbone day is celebrated on May 6 across the world, and this is Merrick's best Wishbone day yet.

Kroger and his mother Lara have teamed up to make Wishbone Day special for Merrick, by surprising his class at Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center with yellow cupcakes and balloons.

The color has signified the effort to bring awareness to Osteogenesis Imperfecta.

Merrick was diagnosed before birth, when he broke his femur. "The outlook was pretty grim," Graves said.

He's had 48 known fractures so far, and surgery to rebuilt his hip.

"He's beat every odd, that anyone would have ever placed on him at that moment at eight months," Graves said.

Wishbone day isn't about fundraising, but community awareness and celebrating life with OI.

"He knows that this is the one day of the year that everybody chooses to really celebrate the condition," Graves said. 

The Wheeling Kroger has embraced Merrick with open arms, since the time he was born and Lara would bring him into the store.

"He's kind of like a celebrity at the store," Kroger Manager Amanda Glatzer told 7News. "Merrick is very special because he's the only one in our community who suffers from OI. Just seeing his successes in life is really what the big celebration is all about."

This is the second year Glatzer and Kroger has helped make Wishbone Day special for Merrick.

"It's overwhelming," Graves said.  "It's heartwarming to know that many people appreciate his spirit as much as I do."

To learn more about the effort to bring awareness to OI, visit wishboneday.com



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