Hello Dance Marathon, our story started in March 2005 just after Brandon’s 4th birthday. They were at McDonalds and my wife noticed his eyes were not right. The white part of his eyes was yellow in color. This started our long journey of medical problems.
Upon a trip to the ER, we got a call that we needed to get him to Iowa City. When we got there it wasn’t long and Brandon was admitted for Acute Liver Failure. The doctors and staff worked diligently but Brandon was failing fast. Dr. Bishop then told us Brandon needed a Liver Transplant, but he would have to be transferred to Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Brandon was then flown by jet to Chicago and we met him there at the same time the medevac crew arrived.
Brandon was placed on the organ wait list and at the same time we were searching for a live donor that matched. With short time left, it was determined that Brandon’s Uncle was a match and was flown to Chicago from Texas for the transplant. It was a success.
We thought our nightmare was over when in October of the same year he started getting sick again, only it was different. He was run down with his energy level and he was bruising in several places. Once again we were in the ER and they sent us to Iowa City Oncology dept. There we met Dr. Goldman and Steve Rummelhardt. Dr Goldman did an aspiration from Brandon’s hip and it was determined that Brandon had Acute Severe Aplastic Anemia. Brandon’s Bone Marrow had shut own and the treatment would be months of Chemotherapy and a Bone Marrow Transplant. We were struck with fear and immediately began praying for a cure. God answered back with not only 1 match, but 2 among his siblings who were a perfect match, Ryan and Kayla.
On February 14, 2006 ( Valentine's Day) Brandon received his cure from his brother Ryan since he was the oldest and volunteered graciously to save his brother’s life.
After a lengthy stay in the transplant unit, Brandon was cleared to go to the Ronald McDonald House, and then home and recover. That is when we were introduced to Dance Marathon and have been a part of the DM family since.
In 2010 Brandon’s mom was then diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer and had surgery and chemotherapy to treat it. She knows firsthand on what Brandon went through. At Dance Marathon 2011, Brandon celebrated his 5 yr. graduation and we shared his story for the first time on the Big Stage.
Today I am happy to share that Brandon is celebrating his 10th year off treatment and my wife Gloria is 5 years Cancer Free !!!!!
Thank you Dance Marathon for all that you do because YOU make the difference in these families’ lives with your love, compassion, and determination for these kids.
In Memory of Tristan
February 17, 2020
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