Braxton Weidman is a popular, outgoing, and active third-grader who loves to tear it up on the baseball field. In late August, Braxton’s parents noticed their son slowing down. He wasn’t himself.
Their world was about to be turned upside down when Braxton received a brain cancer diagnosis. After two surgeries, he got an unexpected call from an Alabama sports star.
A student at Greystone Elementary School in Hoover, Alabama, Braxton used to spend most of his time playing baseball. And his skills on the field even earned him the nickname “Turbo.”
But in late August, Braxton wasn’t his usual active self. He became lethargic: tiring by late afternoon, forgoing a deep-sea fishing trip, napping, and becoming disinterested in activities he used to enjoy.
In early September, Braxton walked up to his parents, collapsed, and had a seizure.
His parents, Chris and Brandie Weidman, both medical professionals, took him to the Children’s of Alabama, where he underwent an MRI. They knew their son’s condition was serious.
On Sept. 12, a doctor diagnosed Braxton with stage-4 glioblastoma—an extremely rare form of brain cancer—and the odds weren’t good. Braxton’s parents prayed for him.
On Oct. 5, Braxton underwent surgery at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis, where Dr. Frederick Boop, a world-renowned neurosurgeon, tried to remove the tumor putting pressure on Braxton’s brain.
After the surgery, Dr. Boop smiled and told his parents, “Braxton did great,” WVTM reported.
Later that day, encouragingly, the young fighter even whispered from his hospital bed to his father, “We kicked butt with two Ts.”
But the battle wasn’t over yet.
Braxton still needed to undergo treatment, and the family would have to provide care, traveling back and forth to Memphis and later Birmingham. Both parents had to take leave from their jobs to care for their son.
From a medical perspective, his condition was without hope. But they continued to pray that Braxton would become one of the few to beat glioblastoma.
(Courtesy of Chris Weidman)
Braxton’s baseball league came out in support of their sidelined player at a game on Oct. 4. They sold T-shirts and held a silent auction to raise money for the family.
His parents say the show of support they have received means the world to them.
“You basically live everyday with the weight of an elephant on your chest, trying to find ways to help your little boy,” Chris told WBRC. “And to know that all of these people here have your back is pretty amazing. It helps a lot.
After Braxton’s second surgery, Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban and running back Najee Harris, Braxton’s favorite player, both reached out to him after hearing his story.
“I feel like me talking to Braxton made more of my day, my whole week,” Harris told Alabama.com. “It’s motivating me more going into the game.”
They dedicated a game to Braxton, in which the star player landed five touchdowns and a 206-yard rushing performance.
The young fighter told the news outlet the experience connecting with the team was “life changing.”
On a positive note, Chris posted on update on his son’s progress on Facebook on Oct. 30. He captioned:
“Laser Beam number 10 down! 20 to go!! Little dude feels really good!! Hope everyone is doing well! Braxton had a really good week. His leg soreness is gone and we feel it was really him just coming off his steroids.”
According to his dad, pending tests, Braxton may be eligible for a new immunotherapy trial, offering some hope.
Glioblastoma has brought everything into focus. They’re making each moment count.
Over the weekend, they planned to have fires, make chili, and watch football. Chris says they are all staying positive. They continue to pray for him and ask for the community to do the same.
We’re with you Braxton!
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