Four-year-old Branden Witt suffers from two very distinct conditions known as Chiari malformation and basilar invagination. Both conditions put dangerous levels of stress on Branden’s brain stem, and as a result, he needed brain surgery. The operation was set for October 26. Carol Witt, Branden’s mother, informed IJ Lift that the impending surgery wouldn’t stop the family from helping Branden celebrate Halloween.
Witt set out to distribute fliers throughout the neighborhood detailing not only her son’s condition, but also a request to let him trick or treat before his big surgery. On the fliers, Witt requested that her neighbors signify that their homes were open to the idea by hanging the flier along with glow sticks and pumpkins on their mailboxes. The response was phenomenal. 42 out of the 58 homes in the immediate neighborhood proudly hung their fliers and other decorations on their mailboxes to show support for their brave little neighbor. This was a touching moment for the entire Witt family. IJ Lift spoke with Witt about her son’s reaction, she said that Branden was “excited,” and it wasn’t apparent that he didn’t even know it actually wasn’t Halloween. Many kids in the neighborhood even dressed up and joined Branden in his trick-or-treating endeavor! Branden chose a “Lightning McQueen” costume to show his love and appreciation for the movie “Cars.”
The night was nothing short of a great success. Witt told IJ Lift that the purpose of the surgery was to retrieve a portion of Branden’s rib and use it to connect his skull and spine together. Witt noted that this would be the most significant surgery that Branden had ever had, and hopefully ever would have. She added that after the surgery, Branden would remain in a halo brace for the next six months. Local news station WTVR News covered the story recently, and ever since, support has poured out around the world. The Witt family has received letters, care packages, and many other symbols of support from people from all over. Witt told reporters that support had come from countries such as Portugal, Austria, and Canada, and nearly every U.S. state had also shown support in some way. Many who have reached out did so to remind little Branden that he isn’t alone. Many supporters had also undergone their own brain surgeries and major procedures, and they provided hope, as well reassuring confidence that everything was going to be okay.
After Branden’s Halloween ended, The Witt family set time aside to personally thank each and every family in their neighborhood who helped create a successful Halloween for Branden. Witt called the entire experience “inspiring.” She was brought to tears many times during her son’s trick-or-treating experience by the love, compassion, and kindness shown by their neighborhood, some who were even complete strangers. Witt kept reporters updated on her son’s progress by sending photographs of Branden before and after his surgery. The caption read that her son’s surgery was going really well.
Now that it has been days since the young man’s big surgery, it is relieving to announce that it was an overall success. Witt added that Branden and her family had a long journey ahead of them, however. She remains calm and confident that if “God has brought them to it, he will see them through it.” Witt has attributed much of her son’s medical success to global prayer. Branden’s story is truly moving and remarkable. You can donate to Branden using his GoFundMe page. You can share this inspiring store with your friends and family by clicking the “Share” button!