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Jackson Co. 3-year-old will need heart transplant

9:12 AM, Mar 13, 2013   |    comments
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JEFFERSON, Ga. -- A Jackson County toddler is fighting for his life ... and smiling all the way.

Braden Knebel just turned three in December. He can smile, laugh, and do puzzles, because he doesn't think about what he doesn't know.

MORE | Breakfast for Braden fundraiser

"He doesn't know what his future holds," says his mother, Michelle Knebel. "He doesn't know he needs a new heart. He'll tell you he needs a new heart, but he doesn't know what that means."

At some point soon, Braden will need a new heart. He has already received surgery three times, the first when he was nine days old.

"He has come close to passing away with each heart surgery," Michelle said. "He is never going to be that same baby that I had in the hospital, so it's tough."

Doctors at St. Mary's Hospital in Athens continue to monitor Braden. His mother says he will eventually need a transplant, but "it's just a matter of when the pressures in his heart get too much for his heart to handle."

The family is holding a fundraiser for Braden next Saturday, the proceeds of which will go to his family for transplant-related expenses. The event is called "Breakfast for Braden", and it will take place at Fatz Restaurant at 442 Atlanta Highway NW in Winder, Ga. on Saturday, March 23 at 8 AM. To order tickets, please contact Michelle Knebel at 706-410-8709. You can also find out more information at the COTA for Braden K web site.


For more stories by Matt Pearl, you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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