Family Advocacy Day Hero -- Meet Brandon W.

Brandon W., age 17 
Hometown: Burnsville, MN
Hospital: Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare, St. Paul, MN

To meet Brandon is to experience the strength and indomitable spirit of a teen who has defied the odds, overcoming more medical struggles than most adults.

Born more than four months prematurely and weighing just 1pound, 13 ounces, Brandon has cerebral palsy and hydrocephalus, a condition that occurs when too much fluid builds up in the brain. He’s undergone 34 surgeries and a surgically implanted shunt helps drain excess fluid from his brain.

Last year Brandon underwent major orthopedic surgery at Gillette to realign bones throughout both of his legs. As a result, Brandon's legs no longer twist inward when he walks. Not only can he walk straighter, he can also cover longer distances without tiring.

Some of Brandon’s favorite pastimes include participating in Special Olympics track and field events, going bowling with his friends, and seeing the latest movies on the big screen.

Despite the challenges he faces, Brandon insists on being treated like other kids. “My life motto is to never give up, never back down and never lose faith,” he says.

Fact: Approximately two-thirds of all children with medical complexity are covered by Medicaid.

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