April is National Donate Life Awareness Month, a time to focus on the ongoing need for organ and bone marrow donations. Transplant procedures require a great deal of blood products, and although they are not done in Kern County, Kern County citizens benefit from them regularly. One local boy waiting for a transplant is 9 year old Brayden, who desperately needs a new heart.
Brayden has been waiting more than three years for a heart transplant. You can recognize his ongoing fight for life by donating blood products this month in honor of Brayden using Account Code 616.
Brayden stopped eating and was turning blue just days after he was born on December 1, 2007. It was determined he would need heart surgery because the main artery leaving his heart, the aorta, was not opening fully, restricting blood flow to his body. Brayden had his first heart surgery on December 12. A second surgery was needed on January 28, 2010, when Brayden was two. Unfortunately, although the procedure itself went well, Brayden’s lungs “just could not handle the new way his heart was working and he crashed” according to his mother, Brenda. “We lost him for a reported eight minutes, and he had to be placed on life support”, she says. However, the machine that was supposed to act as his heart and lungs also caused bleeding. Brayden was losing significant amounts of blood hour after hour. After 105 units of blood products, weeks upon weeks in ICU and the hospital recovering, and untold infections and setbacks, Brayden finally made it home. He “had to learn to live life again” his mother says. “He could not walk, talk, eat, sit up on his own, he couldn’t even move his fingers. . . He was on 14 medications, oxygen 24/7, and had physical, occupational, and speech therapy three times a week.”
Although Brayden’s heart is very enlarged, and he needs a feeding tube and many medicines, he has been able to enjoy school irregularly over the years, as well as trips to the beach, Disneyland and other family loved destinations. The family is waiting for the call that a heart is available for Brayden, yet so sad the call that might mean more life for Brayden means another family will have lost a child. The best way to keep up with the family’s daily rollercoaster life is to read about it at Brayden’s Brave Heart. Videos of Braden and updates on the wait are always available there.
Thanks for your support of Brayden this month!