At the age of 5, Baylie Owen had already been through two brain surgeries for an unusual condition, Chiari Malformation—in which the base of the brain bulges into the spinal canal. The abnormality, which afflicts an estimated 1 in 1,000 American children, can cause severe headaches, neck pain, vision problems and, rarely, paralysis—and it has no cure. One day, Baylie sold some of her drawings at a garage sale at her home in Jersey Village, Texas. She turned over her $27 earnings to her neurosurgeon, Dr. David Frim of the University of Chicago, one of a handful of doctors in the country researching her condition. Giving him the bag of coins and bills, she told him, "Don't be sad. I'll get you some more money." Recalls Frim: "I was so touched."
Now 6, Baylie has teamed with relatives and friends to produce over 6,000 beaded bracelets that she sells for $5 each at baylieforbrains.com. So far she has raised $30,000, which Frim plans to use for initial tests of possible Chiari treatments. Says Firm: "Baylie is remarkable."