To look at Brandon Watson is to see a miracle. The 14-year-old is tall and handsome and loves to swim, but there was a time when a heart defect nearly claimed his life.
A defective pulmonary valve and a hole in his heart led to open heart surgery at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center when Brandon was just three days old, followed by a cardiac catheterization at age 10 and valve replacement surgery at age 12.
In his role as the American Heart Association's 2005 Heart Ambassador, Brandon shared his support of research into heart disease and advancing medical treatments for heart patients. On a personal level, Brandon hopes this research will yield a less invasive procedure for placing a permanent valve in his heart when he has finished growing.
He Helps Others
Before he received the formal title, Brandon was already something of an ambassador, comforting other children as they prepare for cardiac surgery. "I just tell them that everything is going to be OK," Brandon explains. "You go to sleep and when you wake up, everything is better."