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12 News viewers help make Valley man's birthday unforgettable after Vegas trip canceled due to COVID-19

Brenden's traditional birthday celebration in Vegas was canceled due to COVID-19. Several 12 News viewers pitched in to help make it special.

PHOENIX — Brenden is a 34-year-old man in the Valley who has Down syndrome. 

His birthday is on Thursday but because of COVID-19 restrictions and being immunocompromised, his traditional trip to Vegas was put on hold.

Now his family is asking for your help to make it special.

Brenden has an energy and spirit that everyone around him adores.

“He’s the most lovable, sweetest, unconditional loving person I’ve ever met. And he’s got a heart of gold and we just love him so much,” said Jenifer Tuttle. 

Tuttle and other people close to Brenden are pushing to make this year especially memorable for him, as his life has changed in many ways through quarantine and the loss of his dad less than a year ago. 

“It’s really been hard to process that loss for him, so we needed to find a way to give him something special this year,” Tuttle explained. 

Tuttle posted in the NextDoor app asking people around the Valley if they have connections to Coca-Cola. 

Brenden's favorite spot to hit in Vegas is their giant store and Tuttle is hoping she can get the Coca-Cola bear to pay a special visit. 

“I would love to just see the smile on his face to be able to have that picture with the bear and to be able to feel like that was brought to him something special for his birthday,” she said. 

Brenden's mom is setting up a Vegas-themed party for him that will include slot machines and, hopefully, a long, sought out bear hug. 

"Mom is bringing Vegas to the house," Tuttle said. 

"She’s going to do a Vegas theme and do slot machines because, of course, he loves the sound of all the bells and whistles."

All while holding out hope for that big bear hug for Brenden’s birthday.


We have a heartwarming update to this sweet story. 

Brenden got some big surprises for this 35th birthday thanks to 12 News viewers, his family and others in the community. His family is sending out a big thank you to everyone who helped make his day so special.

Kicking the kindness off in Peoria, Mike and Joanne Stimmler donated a slot machine to Brenden after seeing his story on 12 News.

“We like to get involved with things like this, so we’re really happy that he’s going to have a special birthday,” Mike Stimmler said.

Jennifer Tuttle, one of Brenden’s family members, said Coca Cola in Glendale donated shirts, masks and a stuffed polar bear. And his family was able to rent a polar bear costume, revealing another secret gift for the birthday boy.

Many other neighbors also sent well wishes through social media, and offered to donate other Coca-Cola items to help Brenden celebrate. They were all priceless moments, not even COVID-19 could interrupt.

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