Luke & Zachary Branson's Story

                         

Luke & Zach were born 12 weeks premature in September of 1997.  As a result from their prematurity, the boys were diagnosed with spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy at 9 mos. of age.

 Cerebral palsy is a trauma to the brain at birth or in the first 3 years of life, which results in a neurological disorder from mild to severe.  Luke & Zach are affected severely, and are both wheelchair bound.  

There has been amazing results with the treatment, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT).  HBOT is 100% pressurized oxygen.  This treatment can help deliver oxygen to surrounding damaged parts of the brain that before were just “idling”.  With this, CP patients can start doing new things they couldn’t before.

Luke and Zach have had over 200 treatments of hyperbaric oxygen therapy so far.  They have gone from waking up 2-3 times a night, to sleeping the whole night through immediately after treatments.  Though this only lasts a month or two, we are thankful for the sleep!  This time period of sleeping is wonderful for growth and shows that new connections are being made in the brain and organizing better.  They both have also come along way orally.  Both can now say, “Hi”, and drink from a sippy cup.  At one time, drinking a whole cup of juice was never a possibility.  

After their 2nd set of HBOT therapies, Luke and Zach have started to try and communicate by verbalizing, eye contact, and hand waving!  After their 3rd set of treatments, Luke has stopped vomiting, and Zach’s vomiting has lessened.  After their 4th set of treatments, Zachary has stopped vomiting!  Before HBOT, they were each vomiting 3-4 times a day from severe reflux.  This improvement alone is worth 100 trips to Florida !  Life for them (and us) is much easier without this problem, for it kept us home bound and we had the worry of future esophageal cancer.  With each set of treatments, we have noticed even more verbalization and cognitive changes.  They have started reaching for objects and grasping!  Luke and Zach were tested for cortical blindness just before leaving for HBOT and it showed that yes, it was evident.  At the eye doctor, Luke and Zach show great improvements in their vision each time they return from HBOT!  They are now getting peripheral vision!  After the boys' 6th set of treatments, we have seen yet even more changes developmentally.  Luke & Zach's cortical impairment improved once again, Zach has started stepping with his braces on, and Luke's cognitive skills have improved.  The boys have started peddling their adapted bike, and they are both verbalizing even more.  The words that they speak are becoming to sound even more like words, they have gotten their syllable down, next comes pronunciation!  After the 7 & 8th set of treatments, Zachary has started stepping independently in his walker.  What a sight to see for 2 parents who have been waiting for this moment for 6 years!  We can see a difference in the way they look at us.  Life just seems a little better to them lately.  The “wheels” in their heads are turning…and it’s evident to anyone who is around them.  We are excited about Luke & Zach’s newfound abilities and thank God for every little miracle.  

We also thank our families, therapists, friends and Angel Flights for all the endless support we have received from them.  With out such strong support we receive from them daily and trip by trip, Luke and Zach's road to recovery would be much longer!  It's also important to remember that after each set of treatments there has been intense physical and occupational therapy.  If their brains are going to make new connections, they have to learn how to use them!

 

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*this website was designed and is maintained by Luke & Zach's, mom, Kerri Branson.

www.theBransonProject.com
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Revised: January 28, 2009