Bremerton boy’s karate advertisement inspires

Illness does not define 12-year-old James Brown. Sponsored by MaryBridge Children’s Multicare.

BREMERTON, Wash .– James Brown of Bremerton enjoys showing off the karate belts he won – he’s now a green belt. His mom says he goes to a local karate studio twice a week and loves it. You might have even seen him in an advertisement recently, showing some of what he learned. The filming was a great experience for this 12-year-old.

“I felt like a movie star, there was a lot of smoke on my face, there were a lot of people there. And I had to do a lot of things, ”James said.

James did this commercial for MaryBridge Children’s in Tacoma – a place that helped James face another unseen enemy.

His mother first noticed that something was different on Christmas morning when James was 5 years old.

“He just didn’t look good, it was really scary,” Nan Brown said.

They took him to MaryBridge where they discovered that James had acute disseminated encephalomyelitis – ADEM – an inflammatory disorder that affects the brain. She has since been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

An intimidating trip for any family, but they didn’t have to do it alone.

“Multicare has been great because whenever we have symptoms or even questions, they’re there to help and respond,” Nan said.

Today, James is on the rise – an energetic kid with a flair for the theater who enjoys playing video games, and “Star Wars” (not necessarily in that order) and of course, karate. He loves sparring and uses sports to deal with his feelings of having to go to the hospital regularly, and his mom says it helps him focus and discipline himself. His friends think the ad is pretty cool. And James says it even helped him help one of them:

“A friend of mine at school had COVID and since they saw my ad they asked me what I should do because they knew I was in the hospital and I gave them some advice.” This advice? “I would say don’t doubt yourself, be confident in your abilities.”

James trusts his abilities to bring him up to a black belt in karate.

And he has no doubts that he is not defined by MS but rather by what he loves – and who loves him.

“I really appreciate that Multicare and MaryBridge were really there, they were really helpful and they got us through this,” Nan said.

To learn more about James’ story and to support MaryBridge Children’s Multicare and the many children like James they help every day, visit

Sponsored by MaryBridge Children’s Multicare. KING 5 evening celebrates the Northwest. Contact us: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Email.

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