Team Brayden: Supporters say #wegotthis in helping SCC freshman with cancer

Published 12:08 am Wednesday, April 12, 2017

LAPLACE —Any time a member of the St. John the Baptist Parish community needs help, the Turner family is quick to jump in anyway they can.

This time, the Turners are the ones in need.

In February, 15-year-old son Brayden, a St. Charles Catholic freshman, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a type of cancer.

The community has rallied around the family in support since then.

Friends and family members have organized jambalaya dinners, raffles, prayer gatherings and even created a hashtag to support “Team Brayden” — #wegotthis.

This week St. Joan of Arc Catholic School, where Brayden attended classes and his younger brother, Connor, still does, hosted a blood drive to help replenish the blood needed in his cancer fight. He already has had two transfusions and likely will require more.

The cafeteria was filled Monday with members of Team Brayden, family and friends, all wearing neon green shirts emblazoned with the hashtag. There were several students and faculty members dressed in sports gear and a steady stream of people willing to donate.

Jamie Angotti gives blood Monday while daughter Bella, standing, keeps her company. (Lori Lyons/L’OBSERVATEUR)

One of those was Narquez Jones, Brayden’s football teammate at St. Charles Catholic.

“I had to,” Jones said.

Brayden seemed overwhelmed by the fuss, calling this “a speed bump.”

“It’s been amazing,” said Brayden, who was given the OK by his doctors to attend the event but had to wear a protective mask to fend off germs. “It’s just amazing the amount of support I’ve been given throughout the past two months.”

Dad Steven said it’s hard to be on the receiving side, though.

“It makes us feel very grateful,” he said. “We’re normally the ones that always help other people. We’re not used to it, but it feels great. St. Joan of Arc is a wonderful community. ”

It all began with a routine case of strep throat for Brayden, who is on medication for Crohn’s Disease.

A week or so later, his mom, Marie, thought he had the flu and brought him back to the doctor. That doctor discovered a mass in Brayden’s neck and sent him to the emergency room at West Jefferson Medical Center.

After several tests were performed, Brayden was sent to Children’s Hospital for more.

Brayden Turner and Narquez Jones talk during Monday’s blood drive in LaPlace.

“They were testing him for different things,” Steven said. “It’s a shame that me and my wife are sitting there praying for mono because the symptoms are kind of the same. We knew, if not mono, what it actually might have been. We knew it was probably lymphoma. He takes a shot for Crohn’s and one of the side effects is lymphoma, so that’s always in the back of my mind.”

Brayden should be thinking about spring break and spring football. Instead, he will miss the rest of his freshman year, returning only for tests.

He was scheduled to return to Children’s Hospital this week for his third round of chemotherapy and undergo tests to determine if he needs more than four.

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymph system most common in early adulthood and late adulthood. It is highly treatable.

Steven said Brayden’s prognosis is very good.

“It’s probably one of the most curable cancers you can have,” Steven said.