Brandon has had a passion to be a veterinarian for as long as I have known him. He has overcome a lot of adversity and had many bumps along the road where he could have easily thrown in the towel and given up on his dream. However, he has persevered and overcome many obstacles to get to where he is now. Brandon has one semester of veterinary school left and he is faced with yet another roadblock: he has run out of options for financial aid to get through his last semester!
He has worked so hard to get to the finish line, he is so close!
When my best friend and Brandon's wife, April, told me about their dilemma I insisted that he should share his story and ask for help.
I can't think of anyone more deserving of help so that he can achieve his dream! The animal world is so blessed to have his passion and dedication to their well-being, especially because he wants to work as an emergency veterinarian which is a very grueling and necessary field!
Here's April's story of the journey:
As many of you know, Brandon is finishing up veterinarian school. It’s been a bumpy road since 2012 when he decided this would be his path, but he has persevered. During his undergrad he had multiple jobs working in doggy day care, mobile vet units, and volunteering at the STL animal shelter all while attending school full-time. In 2016, April got a full time job at DMACC (in Des Moines, Iowa) while Brandon continued living in STL in order to sell their house. As luck would have it, Brandon got accepted into ISU veterinarian program in the fall of 2017.
Unfortunately, due to the social climate at the time, their house in STL lost significant value and April and Brandon had to forfeit the house and file for bankruptcy. They started from scratch and moved into a trailer near ISU veterinary school. They were at least happy to be living together again.
However, between losing Brandon’s grandmother and arising health problems himself, he had to postpone vet school for at least a year.
It was again, a rocky start as Brandon’s mom was diagnosed with cancer just as he was finishing his first semester back. Bobbie would often brag about her children and was giddy about her son becoming an animal doctor. But unfortunately, she wouldn’t get to see him graduate because she lost her battle in the fall of 2019. Never the less, Brandon continued on as his mom would want.
Then there’s good ol’ 2020 that sent the entire world home. That summer, Brandon lost his grandma Garrison, probably the biggest influence on him entering veterinary work in the first place. To make matters worse, April lost her full time teaching job and thus their full-time (and only) income in June 2020. Although April was a finalist in several interviews, she was unable to find a full-time teaching job. She started a work from home business, but that alone was not enough, and she ultimately had to pull money out of retirement funds (and pay the exorbitant fees for taking it out early). This continued for 2 full years in order to continue supporting Brandon as a full-time veterinary student (even though he picked up a job in the ICU when he could).
But finally! A part time teaching job opened up back at DMACC and April was able to start working again in Spring 2022. While the damage was done to their retirement account, they had learned to budget and get by on part-time income for the time being. Brandon started his last year of vet school, his clinical rotations and most time-consuming year, in May 2022.
And recently (Christmas break ), we find ourselves in the biggest predicament of all: with one semester left to go, Brandon was told that his student loans are maxed out, and they would be unable to pay for his final semester at ISU. When not working 12 hour shifts in the emergency room over the holidays, Brandon has tried every avenue of private and personal loans to try to pay for the last semester of school. He didn’t come this far to give up though, and desperate times call for desperate measures.
Although the reality of raising enough money for an entire semester of school may be challenging to reach, we understand that any help will lessen the burden on figuring out the entire amount (~$17,000).
It’s finally time that we reach out and ask for support. In lieu of graduation gifts, we are asking for any help you are able and willing to give, so that Brandon makes it to the finish line and become the amazing veterinarian I know he will be! He also wants to work in the exciting (yet stressful) environment of emergency work. If you’ve ever used emergency services, you know how important this work is! There are very few doctors that can do it, and still maintain their sanity. Brandon not only enjoys this work, but excels at it!
Thank you in advance for any and all donations and support you bring our way. We are beyond appreciative.
Please click the link to donate via GoFundMe. If you would prefer for 100% of your donation to go to the Garrisons, you can use Venmo @WellnessApril or Facebook pay April directly.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts! Brandon (soon to be DVM) and April Garrison