Brian was a junior and on the dean’s honor list at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, studying biomedical engineering and computer science. He truly loved his college experience and formed an amazing second family away from home. We are comforted knowing he was the happiest he’d ever been especially after recently landing an internship as a biomedical engineering at Medtronic in the cardiac rhythm and heart failure division of all places.
Just a normal day in the life of a college student during exam week, Brian was in his apartment all day studying on and off for a test. He had been complaining of what he thought was an abscessed tooth for a day and a half. He still had one more final exam, but it became very painful. He called home complaining it was getting worse which was unusual for Brian.
I called his doctor to get him an antibiotic to help until he got home. They rightfully refused as he was too far away to be evaluated. I then urged Brian to go to the immediate care, but he thought it could wait. I also urged him to call his doctor which he did as we noticed that they were his last three phone calls.
Brian’s roommate was studying in the next room and after we contacted him, he went to check on Brian and found him sitting up in his chair, already gone. It had been a couple hours since he was last seen acting normally. We were told nothing was found wrong with the tooth or with Brian. We now suspect it was a sudden cardiac arrest.
Brian’s goal was to find a career “ to improve the quality of life for others”. He always listened to others and made them feel like they mattered. We miss him so much and think about him every day. Brian was brilliant, humble, and kind. He made a great impact on many lives. It’s still hard to believe he’s not going to walk through the door from school with a big smile on his face, dragging in his pile of dirty laundry. He always ended the day saying or texting “I love you”. The summer before his death, we had secretly recorded Brian playing Pearl Jam’s “Just Breathe” on the guitar – it has become our motto for moving forward.
We are so grateful for the help we received from the SADS Foundation. They were here for us to guide us on our journey. They were our lifeline, helping us navigate next steps for evaluating Brian’s younger brother. They continue to support us through informative e-newsletters, educational family webinars, and the virtual family conference where we connect with world experts and other SADS families. We ask that in memory of Brian, you please take a moment to donate to the SADS Foundation.