Community Helps 4-Year-Old Undergoing Brain Surgery Celebrate Halloween ‘Like Every Other Kid’
Entertainment| | By Jason Owen
Due to an extensive surgery, a four-year-old was going to miss Trick-or-Treating this Halloween, but thanks to the kindness of his neighbors, he got to celebrate Halloween in a very special way. Branden Witt was born with “Chiari malformation,” a condition where the brain tissue extends into the spinal canal, and “basilar invagination,” where the second vertebra migrates upward into the junction of the skull and neck. Branden has compression on both sides of his brainstem as a result.
On October 26, Branden was scheduled for his first brain surgery and due to the intense nature of the surgery and his recovery, would miss Halloween. Hoping that Branden might still be able to participate in Halloween this year, his mother, Carol, created a flier with a brief synopsis of her son’s condition and asked neighbors if they wouldn’t mind Branden going door-to-door a little bit early this year. What happened next will warm your heart. Of the 58 homes Witt sent the flier to, the vast majority responded by hanging on their mailboxes the pumpkins and glow sticks attached to the flier, indicating they would love little Branden to Trick-or-Treat early. So Branden donned his Disney Cars “Lightening McQueen” costume and collected buckets (AND BUCKETS) of candy to lift his spirits ahead of the surgery. “He was excited!” Carol Witt told IJ Lift. “I don’t know that he knew it really wasn’t Halloween, but some of the kids that were at the houses would walk with Branden, and some even dressed up so he could see their costumes.” “It’s definitely been inspiring,” Witt continued. “I cried the entire time we were trick-or-treating. It’s really nice to finally hear something in the news about compassion.” Since the Witts’ heartwarming story was aired on WTVR News, Witt said she’s been “overwhelmed” with the outpouring of support and care packages from people all around the world. “I’ve been amazed, we’ve gotten responses from people in Austria, Portugal, Canada and just about every state in the U.S.,” she said. “I didn’t realize how many people have already been through this process; they’ve given us hope and a heads up on what to expect.” According to Witt, Branden is “doing well” after his surgery Monday. It just goes to show that even strangers, people we barely know, can make such a positive difference in our lives each and every day. To donate to Branden’s recovery efforts, visit the family’s GoFundMe page here.
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