Bright Spots: Neighbors, but strangers until hearts bring them together

This story will may hurt and warm your heart all at the same time.

Two Tuscaloosa County teenagers found friendship while fighting for their lives.

Your heart is obviously one of your body’s top survival organs.

Tyler Smith and Braylon Scott never knew each other until their hearts brought them together.

From the outside looking in, it may just look like Tyler is coming over to watch some TV with his friend Braylon.
And while that’s true, there’s so much more meaning in this reunion.

“I went into cardiac arrest at basketball practice,” 14-year-old Scott said. “I was airlifted to Children’s Hospital.”

“I was born with Truncus arteriosus,” 17-year-old Smith said.

Although their conditions are very different, Braylon and Tyler have a lot in common:
they’re from the same area, attend the same school, both have heart conditions, and even had the same surgeon.

However, they’d never met until this year when they both had heart operations at Children’s Hospital in Birmingham.

”We met at the hospital by the window,” Scott said. “We just shook hands and stood there for a minute.”

“It felt great to have someone understand, because really no one in this world understands like he did,” Smith said.

While Braylon’s condition is new to him and his family, Tyler’s family has known about his heart defect since before he was born.

“I’ve had four open heart surgeries,” he said. “I was newborn, one and a half, six and now.”

Braylon and his family told WVUA 23 through learning about Tyler’s lifelong journey, they’ve been given faith, strength and guidance to navigate their unchartered waters.

“Tyler has been going through this his whole life,” Scott said. “This is my fist time.”

Tyler has an artificial aortic valve made of metal. He said each tick a reminder of the walking miracle he is.

“The worst days were coming out of surgeries. Having that tube down your throat. That just sucks. God pushed me through it. ”

Today these teenagers are just being teenagers, watching football  and playing video games.
We all know young men this age aren’t the most sentimental creatures, but there’s really no other way to put it: Braylon and Tyler know they’ll always be bonded by their hearts.

“I really do hope I can keep in contact and check up on him in the future,” Scott said. “Even when we go our separate ways after high school.”

“This friendship will last a very long time,” Smith said. “He ain’t my friend, he’s my family.”

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