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A miracle named Brayden

Boy, 3, making progress since being found in pool

Posted: February 6, 2017 5:53 p.m.
Updated: February 7, 2017 1:00 a.m.

On Friday, Jan. 27, the parents of a 3-year-old Lugoff boy pulled from the bottom of a pool four days earlier were told their son might not ever wake up. During the next seven days, that boy not only woke up, but became more and more responsive and able to support himself while standing at least once.

His name is Brayden and his family and the church that has “adopted” them believe he is nothing short of a miracle.

(At the request of the family, the C-I has agreed not to print Brayden’s full name or the names of his parents and siblings.)

Monday morning, Friendship Baptist Church’s pastor, Matt Galloway, and church member Jonathan Fike, provided an update on Brayden’s condition. They said Brayden’s recovery to even this point is due to the power of prayer from the community.

Jan. 23 was also a Monday. A few days earlier, Brayden, his parents and his infant and 10-year-old brothers had moved into a family member’s home in Lugoff. Fike said both parents are originally from the area. He said they had been living in Tennessee for job purposes, but realized they missed having the boys near their respective families. So, Brayden’s father arranged to have a job here and moved back.

A little before 3 p.m. that day, Brayden’s mother realized he had snuck out of the house. She and her husband looked around and found him -- according to Fike and Galloway -- at the bottom of their family’s in-ground pool.

They pulled him out, began performing CPR and called 911. Lugoff Fire-Rescue crews responded and took over. They, in turn, got help from the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) and Camden Police Department to open up U.S. 1 into Camden so an ambulance could get to KershawHealth as quickly as possible.

Brayden was later moved to an intensive care unit (ICU) in a Columbia hospital where he is still being treated.

Galloway -- who pointed out Brayden’s family are not even members of his church -- said he didn’t know what had happened until the next day despite living in the same area. Fike learned about Brayden from one of his friends: Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews.

Matthews, Fike noted, had posted some news on the KCSO’s Facebook page about Brayden’s situation not long after he’d been taken to the hospital.

“By (the next day), it had 600,000 views,” Fike said. “Jim thought … somebody needed to ‘adopt’ them to facilitate addressing their needs.”

“The sheriff’s office isn’t set up to deal with something like that,” Galloway added, “and the family also needed spiritual guidance.”

Fike called Galloway. Soon, Fike, his wife, and Friendship Baptist Administrative Pastor Keith Willoughby went to see Brayden. Within moments, Fike said, they felt God was with them.

“(Brayden) had an ‘x’ on his toe that looked like a cross,” he said. “It was to mark where to put the pik or IV line, but we could feel God’s presence.”

Brayden’s family, Fike said, was in shock, not knowing what would happen to their son.

For most of that first week, Brayden did not wake up. That Friday, Jan. 27, he underwent an MRI.

“I got a text around noon from Brayden’s mom,” Galloway said. “She said the MRI wasn’t good and the doctors were telling her he may never wake up and that, if he did, he’d be bedridden for the rest of his life. She was devastated.”

Galloway immediately called her back, prayed with her and told her not to give up hope.

Around the same time, a client of Fike’s cancelled a lunch meeting. He decided to check on Brayden’s mother, arriving there just moments after Galloway’s call. Hearing the same news, Fike told her about how many people in the community were praying for Brayden.

“I told my wife, we really need people to go there and pray with this child. We need prayer warriors,” he said.

Fike called a friend who immediately responded with three people. They went to the hospital and prayed for the child that evening.

“There is no doubt God was in that room,” Fike said. “It was humbling and awesome. The next morning, Brayden’s eyes cracked open.”

Galloway said Brayden’s eyes opened a little more, he moved around on the bed and began breathing more on his own. Up to then, he had been on a ventilator.

“Sunday (Jan. 29), he opened his eyes fully and they started talking about taking him off the ventilator,” Galloway said. “Monday, they took him off it totally. He was still having trouble focusing, he wasn’t back to normal, but he was making continual progress. It was awesome.”

Galloway said people kept praying for Brayden. He went to see him Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 30 and 31. Thursday, doctors began talking about moving Brayden out of ICU.

“Friday, he stood up with help and was able to hold himself up. He was able to sit up, too,” Galloway said.

“He was doing this, literally, seven days after his mother was told he would never wake up,” Fike added.

Doctors moved Brayden out of ICU, but moved him back Sunday night. Galloway said they did so not because Brayden suffered some sort of setback, but in order to better monitor him.

“He was suffering from bouts of agitation and crying,” he said, adding doctors were not sure what caused the behavior.

In ICU, Galloway said, there can be more nurses looking after Brayden and he can be given medicine with better monitoring.

While Brayden has come a long way in just a little more than two weeks, Fike and Galloway say they and Brayden’s parents know there is a long way to go, too. They said it could be four to six weeks before Brayden can be taken to a Charlotte hospital for pediatric neurological therapy. The hope is that he can go home for a time before starting that therapy.

With the long-term in mind, Fike and Galloway said, Brayden’s family is facing all kinds of substantial needs, both material and financial. They said a long recovery means travel, medical bills and more.

“We’ve become a channel through which to donate, whether that’s gas cards, diapers or money,” Galloway said. “His mother did say it was possible she might be able to stay at a Ronald McDonald House (in Charlotte).”

The two men said they have been heartened by the community’s rallying around Brayden and his family. They said Brayden’s family has, too.

“They are extremely grateful and humbled and overwhelmed,” Fike said. “This just confirmed for them why they returned here. They said they might not have gotten the same response where they were living. We’re humbled; for Matt and I to witness…”

“…the response has been incredible,” Galloway finished. “Telling Brayden’s story has revitalized everyone. The response has buoyed Brayden’s family’s spirits. We pray he continues to progress. With any brain injury, you never know what to expect.”

“What we’re seeing is not what anyone expected,” Fike said. “He is a miracle. His mother sees it as a miracle.”

Friendship Baptist Church continues to post updates about Brayden on its Facebook page. It is also providing a link to Brayden’s Fund on a special Web page, https://www.shelbygiving.com/g3/. Those wishing to make a one-time “quick gift” to the fund do not need to register.

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