Charlotte, NC - This will be an Easter to remember for one Charlotte family. In desperate need of a new heart, Brandon McNeely spent the last several weeks in the hospital preparing for the worst. But on Good Friday, he finally received the news they had been waiting for.
"Just his way of carrying himself through some of the darkest times has been through humor," said Kimberly McNeely, Brandon's wife. "And he's lived through a lot of dark times in his life."
Brandon's first trial came at the young age of 11, when he was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma. He underwent aggressive treatment, which left his body badly damaged, including his heart. Six years ago Brandon was diagnosed with congestive heart failure and in September he was put on the list for a heart transplant. But a few weeks ago, his health took a turn for the worse. He was admitted into the ICU at Carolinas Medical Center and his transplant status was upgraded. But he was given no guarantees.
"We knew that we were getting slim on choices. He's a more rare blood type. He had bad antibodies. So yeah, it was definitely very scary," said Kimberly.
But with his good sense of humor and his two daughters, 12-year-old Nevaeh and 3-year-old Larkin, in the back of his mind, Brandon kept things in perspective. And just two days before Easter, he and Kimberly were told he had a heart offer.
"We definitely don't believe it was a coincidence by any sense of the imagination," said Kimberly. "We've had a lot of really good and huge signs in our life for certain things that have happened; big moments in our lives have always came with something that has made us feel good about our decisions. And this one did too."
Brandon still has a long road to recovery. And, although his future looks bright, Kimberly says they're still wary of the unpredictable.
"This is the life we know and this is the life we have, so you know, so it's, ya know, what are we going to find next for our next big adventure. And hopefully it's not health related," Kimberly said.
A GoFundMe for Brandon has been set up at https://www.gofundme.com/vsw9s48