Eighteen years ago, hospice nurse Michelle Linn met an infant who seemingly did not have long to live.
Braden West of Owensboro, Kentucky was born with Pfeiffer Syndrome, type 2. This condition causes cranial facial abnormalities that can make it difficult to breathe.
Braden’s mom Cheri West says their son’s prognosis was bleak from the start. “The doctor said that he first of all would not live and if he does live, he’ll be severely handicapped, blind and deaf,” said Cheri.
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As an infant, Braden’s airways were so badly blocked that his doctors sent him to hospice care, and that’s where the family met Michelle. As his nurse, Michelle spent hours by Braden’s bedside praying for a miracle. One night a few months into his hospice care Braden’s breathing got so bad that Michelle feared the end was near.
“I honestly wasn’t sure if he would make it to morning,” she wrote on Facebook. “As I watched him struggle all throughout the night, I remember pleading with God to please just take him or make him better, it was just too hard for him, his family, and all those involved in his care.”
Michelle swears that her prayers were heard and answered that night. OVer the next few months Braden’s condition steadily improved. Incredibly, he was eventually discharged from hospice, an all-too-rare occurrance. Ever since then Braden has defied every prognosis and beaten the odds!
Doctors said he wouldn’t live to be 18 months old, but this year he celebrated his 18th birthday. To celebrate his senior year of high school his parents asked Michelle, the nurse who prayed for their son as if he was her own, to take his senior portraits. The results are a stunning remind of the power of faith and friendship.
“This is such a milestone for him to be graduating high school. What better person to do the photos then the person I feel used God to save my son’s life,” said Cheri.
“I’m very happy with who I am, ain’t going to change, ain’t no one is going to make me change. I’m happy with who I am today,” Braden said.
“To know him is to love him,” Michelle wrote. “He is kind, smart, loves his family, friends, fishing, planes, Luke Bryan, his truck, and most of all…..he loves Jesus. His faith is so important to him and he shares it with anyone who will listen. To see him now, there is no doubt why God chose for Braden to stay. The light of Christ shines so brightly through him. He is hope. He is a walking testament of faith, and he is love in it’s purest form. What an honor it has been to have a front row seat to his life so far.”
Michelle admits she isn’t a professional photographer, but these shots came out perfectly! You can see the bond between this caring nurse and special young man.
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