Braden G, age 17

Photograph by DeAndra Young (2023)
A quiet and shy young man who is incredibly smart and never complains, that’s Braden. He loves art, gaming, and all things sports. He played little league ball and never lets anything stop him. During a championship game, he started to feel poorly. Braden kept going for his team, and they won the game! This past school year, Braden took computer classes and successfully obtained two certifications from CISCO.
Braden is diagnosed with sickle cell disease, a group of inherited health conditions that affect the red blood cells. Growing up he had several hospitalizations and ER visits but along the way he has created an amazing team of doctors. Through it all, Braden has been resilient and determined to live a normal life. He is the inspiration behind his parent’s nonprofit, The B Strong Group, which has a mission to spread awareness of sickle cell disease through education, advocacy, and engaging with the community while sharing the stories of sickle cell warriors and caregivers. Braden plays an active role as a spokesperson for the organization.

“Braden is a kind, loving, funny young person. He is considerate of others, does not like to be treated differently, and just wants to live and be happy,” Brenda, his mom says. “He wants to major in computer engineering in college and use his education and skills to start a career. His life matters beyond his diagnosis.”

Family Connection of South Carolina provides services and resources to families who have a child with a disability or specialized healthcare need. Since 1990 we have served more than 100,000 families and today our services are needed more than ever. We focus on parent-to-parent support, guidance with navigating the complex healthcare system, and assistance with school meetings and special education plans.