2015 Edward R. Murrow Award for Best Video Feature
2015 Emmy Nominee
The story of a Bakersfield first grader who has defied all odds in order to not only attend public school for the first time, but to stay alive.
Josh Helmuth follows around Brayden and his parents around their home and to school to get a closer look at this superhero six-year-old.
Brayden is on the wait-list for a heart transplant. He has many heart conditions aside from a faulty left ventricle, including pulmonary hypertension, cardiomyopathy, Shone’s Syndrome and diastolic dysfunction.
You can support Brayden by going to “Brayden’s Brave Heart” on Facebook.
One day, Brayden Eidenshink… hopes to be a chef… Tonight’s mission… homemade brownies. It’s easy to see the six year old puts a lot heart into something many of us take for granted. That’s because, just like the brownies he puts in the oven, Brayden’s heart is also on a clock.
Brenda (mother): (1 year checkup) “Nov. of 2009 we brought him in and he said, “Your son is in complete heart failure.”
Brayden was born with a faulty aortic valve that’s resulted in multiple surgeries and a list of heart conditions lengthier than the ingredients listed on his Pillsbury box. In short, his heart is dying.
Dad: “He’s died twice. He, by all odds, should already be dead from the amount of blood loss.”
Sometimes making him sick, it takes Brayden 20 minutes, four times a day, just to take his regimen of pills. Following complications from being on life support, doctors said he may never have the energy to walk again. Good thing for him, brownies aren’t the only thing Brayden’s heart is passionate about.
Brenda (mother): “Going to school is huge, that’s something we never thought would happen again.”
After years of being forced to stay at home for study, Brayden is going to school with his peers for the first time.
A child, who just months ago, had to have help to walk just a few feet, is now an integral part of his first grade class at Buena Vista Elementary three hours each morning… Some won’t even realize Brayden is hiding a little secret, not in his heart, but in his pocket… He showed me back at home, his diabetic pump that holds a powerful drug called Remodulin. The experimental process is being pumped into him at all times. And It’s keeping him alive.
Dad – “They’re [Stanford] extremely hopeful this will work. They’ve had great success with it. They keep our hopes up.”
Brayden has spent a majority of his life in a hospital gown. Lately it’s been to Stanford every month, to undergo a painful IVIG treatment, which is done to maintain his anitbodies in case a donor heart comes in. The wait list is long. The odds of a match, short. Brayden’s demeanor? Well, full of heart of course (NAT)
Mom – He’s like, mommy, when I get my new heart, this is what I’m gonna do…. A cruise ship, hiking, run, play sports… he’s an inspiration. You can’t be around him without being happy and smiling.”
Dad – “Braydon, to me, is the strongest person I have ever met. He truly is a miracle. A true life super hero. He’s gone through more stuff.”
One year ago he couldn’t cook because of the oxygen attached to him. Now, Brayden is a brownie master, simply waiting for the one thing he can’t pick up at a grocery store.
Mom – He loves proving people wrong. And I absolutely love it. They say he’s not supposed to be here. And he says heck ya I am I have a story to be told.”
Dad – “He’s been through so much, it’s hard to believe he’s not here for a reason.”
Josh Helmuth, EyeWitness News