The story began at birth in 1989; when Brandon Earle was born in Portsmouth, Virginia.
The doctor was not present during birth and the birth was spontaneous. After four pediatricians examined Brandon they concluded that he had Down syndrome. Yet, he did not possess all of the characteristics. We were referred to a geneticist for counseling and chromosome tests. After a week of waiting on edge for the results we found out that our middle son had trisomy 21. Immediately we were connected to physicians and therapists.
The biggest challenges we have had to face were the many operations he needed. Brandon was born with congenital heart defects. After his third open heart surgery, I was told by the doctors he would require one more procedure. His heart would eventually outgrow the mechanical valve they placed in 1991.
Today, Brandon is twenty four years old and a wonderful gift. He is lively, happy and loving. In the past few years Brandon has encountered many hospitalizations with pneumonia, congestive heart failure, respiratory failure, and pulmonary hypertension, including five pacemaker implants and a new pacing system. He is on oxygen and a v-pap machine at night. He will be undergoing his fourth open heart surgery next month.
The reason I wanted to share my story is that Brandon continues to love those around him even after his heart has been repaired so often. He may have had a broken heart at birth yet he is the most loving and forgiving person you’ll ever meet. Brandon is not different because he has the extra chromosome, he is unique and he has endured more in his lifetime then some of us ever will. He has been challenged in schools, with learning difficulties and cognitive impairment. He’s absent from school often because of his hospitalizations.
The pain Brandon has felt throughout the surgeries such as the pacemaker implants and arterial blood draws has proven he is someone that is considered a hero. When Brandon arises each morning with a loving and giving heart he does not gripe or complain about what the day may hold; he just talks about what he will be doing in school and the events that are scheduled for the day.
Brandon loves to go horseback riding, bowling, and enjoys volunteering at local charities. He continues to stay active and truly enjoys life.
Brandon deserves the purple heart award; if they were to hand one out people with Down syndrome Brandon would be the deserving one.
Brandon is my hero; as I sit and ponder the life I have lived, I think of the mistakes I’ve made, the complaining I have done and self-pity; it doesn’t compare to anything my son has gone through. However, when I look over at my son, who will never be worldly, who is naïve and happy and then says “I love you mom, you’re the best” I have to stop and praise God for the special gift of Brandon who will never judge us or see fault in what we say or do. Brandon’s true gift is the love he has to share. Everyone who has encountered Brandon throughout his lifetime will say he has touched their hearts.