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Elaborate Halloween tradition unites family despite son's uphill — and dangerous — medical battle

Reporter Alexandria Hoff sits with Brian Southrey Jr., who suffers from an endocrine disorder and is unable to talk or walk due to the disorder and other medical issues. The Southrey family has a family tradition over their love of Halloween, and they keep Brian Jr. involved. (Image source: WPHT-TV video screenshot)

A family in Galloway Township, New Jersey, isn't letting a thing like a medical battle get in the way of family tradition.

According to a report in WPHT-TV, the Southrey family is determined to bond over their love of Halloween and their elaborate annual tradition of costumes and props.

What are the details?

Brian and Alexandra Southrey's son, Brian Jr., suffers from an endocrine disorder and other maladies that leave him unable to walk or talk.

The station reported that Brian Jr.'s circumstances became so dire at one point that he stopped breathing twice on two separate occasions when he was less than three months old. Both incidents occurred in 2016.

Brian Sr. said that as Halloween approached, he wanted to make the holiday special — and memorable — for Brian Jr. along with the couple's daughter, Ava.

That year, Ava aimed to be "Star Wars" heroine Princess Leia — so the family dressed young Brian Jr. up as Luke Skywalker.

Brian Sr. went so far as to fashion an X-wing for the two children to use for Halloween as a special prop for their costumes.

“It ended up being a pretty big hit. People said, ‘What are you gonna do next year?’” Southrey said.

In 2017, Ava dressed up as Wonder Woman, and Brian Jr. dressed up as Captain America. For his part, Brian Sr. built a tank out of cardboard that was large enough to hold both children.

The family has won at least three Halloween contests in the area, but Brian Sr. says that's just icing on the cake.

"Not everyone's lives are perfect," he told the station. "You always got to look through the bright side of things to get through life."

For 2018, Ava and Brian Jr. will be pirates. So what did Brian Sr. do? Embarked on a journey to fashion a pirate ship — out of discarded playground materials from a friend's backyard.

“I looked at it – it was the perfect shape of a ship hull,” he said.

Alexandra said that her family is forever bonded over their mutual desire to do things together.

"This is our family, we do things together," Alexandra said.

According to the station, Brian Jr. is being cared for by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

“He’s doing really well,” Alexandra said. “He himself has just proved that he really defied the odds after coding twice.”

“The issues that he’s had has brought our family together,” Brian Sr. added.

You can follow the family's journey here.

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