The leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome.

National Down Syndrome Society
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New York New York 10017
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A Gift from God
Big Brother and Brandon
Big Brother and Brandon
A Gift from God

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. 

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Julia, United States, CA
7/1/2013 6:15:00 AM
God bless Brendon and your family. I have a 2 month old son born with Down Syndrome, I love him more than words can say and thank God every day for Timothy. He has stolen our hearts. Reading your story makes me feel better knowing there are families out there who have made it, and are strong. I'll keep him in my prayers and understand these children are a gift. One day, when we are all in Heaven together, I know they will all be restored to perfect health with Christ, but for now, they truly ARE our heros.

Stephanie Lastra, United States, NJ
6/20/2013 10:09:00 PM
Beautiful story! Your son sounds like a true hero and inspiration to us all! God bless him

Savannah Foster, United States, MI
6/16/2013 3:26:10 PM
I have met Brandon plenty of times and he is the most kind hearted man I have known considering what he's been through

Holly Shafer, United States, MI
6/1/2013 11:40:01 AM
You have learned, (from Brandon) a beautiful view of living with a "special needs" child. I really have enjoyed Brandon the little bit that I have been around him at church. I hope his surgery gives him lots more time to love and be loved. Jesus said God is "love", something we have a difficult time conceptualizing since our own love is so faulty and easily bruised. We wonder, "What does that mean, God is love?" Brandon is closer to the answer than we will probably ever know ourselves until we enter the Father's presence ourselves. I applaud you for being able to raise and care for him. God chose you!

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