When Braden West was born, his parents were told that he wouldn’t get to live long. The reason why was because he was diagnosed with Pfeiffer Syndrome Type 2, a genetic disorder characterized by the premature fusion of certain skull bones which prevents the skull from growing normally and affects the shape of the head and face.
The devastated parents learned the news of their son’s condition two weeks before he was welcomed into the world as the ultrasound showed abnormalities. As expected, they got extremely worried and felt as though their world shattered into a million pieces.
“I mean, he’s kicking in my belly and I’m praying for God to take him home,” mom Cheri told News Nation Now in 2020, adding, “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, his mom felt immediate connection and she got even more devastated knowing that there was nothing she could do to help him. The prognosis were that he wouldn’t live beyond 18 months.
“I said dear God please, just let me have him for a little while,” Cheri said.
“There’s a picture of him when he was born and it shows his skull very well, a distinct clover shape,” Cheri shared with The Owensboro Times, adding: “At a month old they let us bring him home. He was not thriving, they knew he was not going to make it. We brought him home to meet everyone so he wouldn’t die in a hospital.”
However, to everyone’s surprise, Braden started beating all the odds. Unexpectedly, he started showing signs of progression.
“He had over 30 surgeries, got a tracheotomy at just 3 months old, and once had a procedure done with a 10% survival rate,” Cheri said. “We had to sign the DNR papers, say our goodbyes and everything. Instead of bad news, the doctors came out and said he was okay.
“Anything a mother doesn’t want to hear is what they told us. It’s amazing with faith in God what you can get through. Anyone who knew us or knew of us were praying for us,” Cheri added.
Besides all the love and support by his parents and his family, there was also another person who showed immense support and helped Braden every step of the way, a nurse named Michele Eddings Linn.
One time, when he almost lost his life, it was Linn who was by his side. “I just remember, you know, praying, ‘Lord just either take him home or make him better,’” Linn recalled. “Because no one could watch him continue to go through this.”
Luckily, he pulled through and Linn said that Braden has been the only patient of hers who ever got to leave hospice care.
Believe it or not, Braden thrived and he even got to graduate from high school. On the day of his graduation, he asked Linn to take his photos, and it was an emotional moment for everyone who got to witness it.
17 years ago I cried because I thought his time on Earth was ending, and now I’m crying because he is graduating [from] high school and his life is just beginning!,” Linn wrote on a Facebook post.
“To watch him become this amazing young man has been emotional, but yet I’m so proud,” mom Cheri told The Epoch Times.
“When I was watching him walk the line, every emotion of the first few months of his life came flooding back. All I could think about was, he isn’t supposed to be doing this, he wasn’t supposed to even be able to hold a pencil, speak, see, hear… and here we are.”
Braden described his graduation as perfect because he got to be flown via helicopter into the middle of a live concert of one of his favorite musicians, Cam Thomspon.
“I feel pretty good knowing I worked so hard to get to this day because it wasn’t always easy,” Braden said.
Not only he got to graduate, but he also landed his dream job, that of a firefighter.
Braden, who is now 22, joined the Moseleyville fire dept as a volunteer fireman.
“Don’t ever give up … No matter how hard the mountain is to climb, keep climbing because the view at the top is amazing!” this incredible young man who beat all the odds says.
He is a perfect example that when we put our mind to something the sky is the limit.
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