Braden West was born with a life-threatening condition, and doctors told his parents he wouldn’t make it. Despite the odds, he has defied all expectations and continued to live a miracle-filled life. Now, at 22 years old, Braden celebrates his life by serving as a firefighter.
Braden West came into this world with a rare craniofacial condition called Pfeiffer syndrome Type 2. This means his skull was not shaped correctly and his brain did not grow as it should have. His mother, Cheri, noticed something was different and found out about Braden’s condition before he was even born. “I mean, he’s kicking in my belly and I’m praying for God to take him home,” Cheri told News Nation Now
. “It looked like he was not going to have the back of his head. It looked like he was going to be born with teeth. It looked like it was a bad situation.”
When Braden was born, Cheri felt a strong connection to him right away. Unfortunately, she also felt helpless as many children with Braden’s condition don’t survive past birth. Braden was only expected to live until he was 18 months old.
Cheri prayed, “I said dear God please, just let me have him for a little while.”
Cheri told The Owensboro Times about a picture taken when Braden was born, which showed his skull clearly. She explained that it had a unique clover shape. Although Braden was not well, at one-month-old, he was allowed to go home to meet his family. Cheri and her family wanted Braden to be surrounded by loved ones instead of passing away in a hospital.
Braden has been surprising everyone since he was born. Despite all the challenges he faced, Braden has made progress with the help of his family who always supported him. He had over 30 surgeries and even had a difficult procedure with only a 10% chance of survival. Despite this, Braden survived and continued to fight.
Braden also formed a special bond with his nurse, Michele Eddings Linn. When he was a baby, Braden’s health was not good and his future seemed uncertain. However, with the support of his family and friends who were praying for him, Braden was able to overcome the difficulties.
Michele was with Braden the night he almost died and she said she prayed for him to either get better or to go to a better place, as no one could watch him suffer anymore.
Linn says that Braden was her first patient who ever got to leave hospice care. Now, the two are close friends and Braden even asked Linn to take his senior photos. Linn says that 17 years ago she cried because she thought Braden was going to die, but now she’s crying because he’s graduating from high school and starting his life. Braden’s mom, Cheri, says that watching Braden walk at his graduation ceremony brought back all the emotions from when he was first born. She couldn’t believe that he was able to walk, speak, hear, and see, because he wasn’t supposed to be able to do those things.
Braden had a perfect graduation day because his parents arranged a special surprise for him. They flew him in a helicopter to a live concert of one of his favorite country singers, Cam Thompson. Braden was very happy to reach this milestone in his life because he had worked hard to get there.
Braden had trouble walking when he was younger and needed a walker, but with lots of therapy, he learned to walk on his own. Now, he is a member of the Civil Air Patrol Unit in Owensboro, Kentucky. He always had big dreams and is now living his dream of becoming a firefighter as a volunteer in the Moseleyville Fire Department.
Braden’s mother, Cheri, says that her son’s achievements serve as an inspiration for those who face challenges. She encourages them to never give up and keep climbing because the view from the top is amazing.
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