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Drive-by parade celebrates boy's 5th birthday as he prepares for brain surgery

First responders joined community members for drive-by parade
Posted at 10:50 AM, Jan 23, 2022

FORT PIERCE, Fla. — A little boy in Fort Pierce celebrated his 5th birthday in a different way.

5-year-old Anthony Mudge is getting ready for brain surgery, so he couldn't throw a traditional birthday party.

"No big party because we can't risk his immune system before surgery or he won't be allowed to have surgery done," said one of Anthony's moms.

That's why the community and first responders got in their cars and drove by to show the young Star Wars fan and his family that together they are 'Strong is Anthony', a play on the way Star Wars character Yoda would speak.

"The only thing we wanted here today was for everybody to just come by, you know, drive by for Anthony and it turned out a lot bigger than it was and we just asked everybody for their prayers. And the power of prayer is a great thing," said Leianna Mudge.

Anthony has craniopharyngioma, a mass in his brain that forms cysts. While it's benign, it's affecting his development as a child.

"Even when he has a headache, he tries to pull through everything and tries to make the best of his whole day even though when he's not feeling well," said Donna Mudge, Anthony's grandmother.

Anthony is scheduled for surgery on February 2, 2022 at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital in Hollywood, Florida.

"To be able to grow and flourish and learn and just be an active little boy all over again," said Nancy Curso, Anthony's 'nana'.

"All of his specialists are in Hollywood so we're having to travel to and from Hollywood, to and from work. With the love and support from our family we rotate as far as the baby," said Leianna Mudge.

After the car parade the close family members got together indoors for a private birthday gathering.

Anthony's family tells WPTV everyone inside took a COVID-19 test as an added precaution.