Brandon's 2nd Chance at Life

“We have a heart”: The Story of Brandon Turner’s Second Chance at life

 We all wish for a second chance at something…

…but what if you need a second chance at life? This is my brother Brandon’s story of how one selfless decision gave him a second chance at life. On the morning of August 24th, 2016, two families received the most life changing news. For one family, the news was devastating—they lost a son to a tragic accident, but for Brandon Turner’s family, it was the news we had been hoping to hear. “We have a heart.”

Brandon’s journey began when he was just a little boy. He was born with an aggressive form of familial hyper-cholesterol anemia, wherein the body produces artery clogging cholesterol. This disease was discovered at age 4, but at the time, medical research was not as advanced as it is now—they did recommend administering cholesterol medications to children before their teens. As he grew into early adulthood, he suffered a mild heart attack and emergency quadruple bypass was performed at just 24 years old. As years went on, his health continued to deteriorate—he was fitted with a life vest, had a stroke, fitted with a defibrillator, and in the end his heart failed. Last August, Brandon was in dire need of a heart, he could only survive with the help of an ECMO machine that pumped his blood for him because his heart was too weak to pump on its own. Brandon was always a fighter, he showed so much strength in the face of all he’s been through, when others would have lost hope. He’s the strongest of us all—we watched as his monitors showed he was slipping away from us—when we cried, he told us to smile. He’d say “I’m not going anywhere.”

Brandon would like to personally give back to the Division of Transplantation at the University of Maryland Medical Center. These amazingly skilled surgeons, doctors, nurses and numerous other staff from all across the hospital who made up the team of caregivers, deserve a world of thanks. Together, they gave Brandon a second chance at life. Your donation would go towards continued research in this field.

Please take five minutes out of your day to become an organ donor at
Your choice can give someone else another chance at life.

Thank you so much. 


Still smiling

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Erica Thwaites 
Carteret, NJ
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