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10-year-old gives gift of running to disabled brother

Sep. 30, 2013 at 2:18 PM ET

Tobias Bass and his brother.
Molly Sanders

There is brotherly love, and then there is Tobias Bass.

The 10-year-old Oklahoma boy was so determined to help his older brother with cerebral palsy, that his efforts became a viral, heartwarming news story.

It all started when Tobias wrote the anchors at News9 in Oklahoma City with a simple request: He needed to borrow a jogging stroller to push his brother Titus for a 5k race on Sept. 27.

“My brother is 11 and has cerebral palsy and is deaf and lost his stomach last year,” Tobias wrote. “He cries when he sees kids playing outside and wants to go to [sic]. Here’s the part I need help with. My mom is a teacher and can’t afford one of those fancy running pushing joggers and all I have to use is a baby pushing stroller.”

Tobias also wrote that he’d been encouraged by his pastor. “[He] said we have to be Gods hands and feet but I’m going to be his legs to [sic].”

Tobias’ moving letter inspired News9 to make his wish come true, and it didn’t take long to find a permanent stroller for Titus.

That came courtesy of ABLE Tech, a statewide program funded by federal grants that provides assistive technology to individuals with disabilities.

Katie Woodward, manager of ABLE Tech’s Reuse and Exchange Programs, told TODAY.com that the organization secured a donation from one of its vendors within a week. She estimates that the stroller costs $300 to $600.

Tobias Bass and his brother at the race.
Courtesy JMHS Foundation
Tobias Bass and his brother at the race.

When Woodward and her colleagues surprised Tobias at home with the stroller on Thursday afternoon, the boy was ecstatic. “He got very emotional and gave me a hug,” said Woodward. “He said, ‘Thank you, this is the greatest thing.’”

Titus was excited, too. The brothers high-fived and fist-bumped each other to celebrate the gift. Once Titus was placed in the stroller, the pair began running up and down the street. “Tobias just took off like the wind,” Woodward said.

They pair kept up that momentum, crossing the finish line on Friday. "He started that race and wouldn't stop," their mother, Contessa Hubbard-Bass, told TODAY.com. Of Titus, she said: "The beginning of that race was Heaven for him."

Tobias Bass and his brother.
Courtesy JMHS Foundation

Titus isn’t the only person in need who Tobias wants to help. In his letter, he told News9 that he wanted to become a pastor, and that we would “volunteer myself out to any other parents who want me to run their disabled children in a 5k. I can be the legs for more than one kid.”

His pastor Craig Groeschel, of LifeChurch.tv, has long seen a unique kindness in Tobias.

“Tobias is one of my favorite kids in the world,” Groeschel told TODAY.com in a statement. “I have been honored to know him and his family for most of his life. He is already making a big difference in the lives of many people, and I am confident he will continue to do so.”

In the meantime, it looks like Tobias and Titus are going to log a lot of miles. In his letter, Tobias wrote that he and his brother would work their way up to competing in the Ironman Triathlon.

That kind of feat wouldn't surprise their mother, who knows how far Tobias will go for his family. "His spirit fills up the room and fills out the corners," she said.

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