Brayden Travis, 18 years old, has struggled with drug addiction since age 15, and has been hospitalized for weeks after an overdose that doctors say should have killed him. His devastated family chose to share their sad news on social media with hopes that their son's story could serve as a cautionary tale.
An emotional account first posted last month has garnered more than 400,000 shares on Facebook. In the family's latest update, Brayden's father says the teen "has been steadily improving. Praise God! He is laughing out loud, and his health is close to normal."
He appears to have come a long way since the terrible night his mother first wrote about in March, when Brayden overdosed on a potentially fatal combination of heroin and Xanax.
"My son's first choice of drug was marijuana, which in time led to other drugs. The ultimate dead end road drug for my son was heroin, as is for a lot of teens/adults. He used last Wednesday at some point in the night and overdosed from a very deadly cocktail of heroin & Xanax," she posted on Facebook.
He lay unconscious for at least seven hours until someone called 911. Doctors determined that by that point his lungs and kidneys were only functioning at 10 to 20 percent and his body temperature had dropped to 90 degrees.
"Medical personnel believe my son should have been dead long before he was able to get the medical attention he needed, but for some unknown reason he has stabilized," his mother wrote.
He developed pneumonia and doctors believed he wouldn't make it through the night. His doctors said he also suffered a stroke as a result of the overdose, which resulted in significant brain damage.
At first, neurologists told his parents their son would never emerge from his vegetative state. But last Saturday, his father shared on Facebook that Travis had come out of his coma.
"I'm learning how to be more patient, giving, and loving," he wrote. "God gives his greatest challenges to his strongest children. There is nothing that will ever make me take a step back ward's [sic]."
The Missouri family says they're sharing their son's story because they wish to raise awareness about drug abuse.
"If my son's story and picture can save one life or contribute to the education and awareness of drug abuse, then he and I are very happy! He wouldn't want this for anyone else and he would tell anyone not to use drugs...ever! I can tell you he tried to fight this addiction and I pray this time it hasn't won!"