KEMPNER, TX — After a cancer battle, a Kempner teen is on a mission to help teen patients, so that no one has to face the disease alone.
Braden Charles was diagnosed with osteoblastic osteosarcoma a year ago. The cancer involved his left knee and femur.
“I remember that day vividly,” recounted Charles. The sixteen-year-old underwent chemo and limb salvage surgery at McLane Children's Hospital. He also lost his signature long brown hair.
“Whenever I was in the hospital, I’m 45 minutes away from my home, my friends are all in school, I can’t talk to them. It would be nice to have someone to relate to,” said Charles. He found a reddit server for cancer patients. But he was the only teen in the group. He then created a new online group on Discord, a popular server, specifically for teens.
“Just someone to talk to, even if it’s a completely different cancer, different ways of treating it, someone they can talk to who knows one thing...that this is difficult,” said Charles.
He further embraced his mission after attending Camp Dreamcatcher.
“I saw the effect that the camp had on each other. And some of the counselors had on these kids,” said Charles.
He also got involved with McLane Children’s Hospital’s teen advisory board. His work fosters building relationships and supporting the medical center.
“My mom was always telling me that she believed that this happened so I can help others. At first I was like, no this just happened because stuff happens, it was out of my control. But now I really do believe that I can help others,” said Charles.