The heart goes on: Remembering Josh Braswell and his gifts of life

AL.com | Michelle Matthews

Karen Braswell, who works with medical students at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, holds a photo of her late son, Josh, in this 2011 file photo from the Press-Register. (File)
Although Josh Braswell died on June 26, 2003, he lives on, in many ways.

For years, thanks to organ donation, his heart continued to beat in the chest of a transplant recipient named Larry who lived in Baldwin County. Larry, who was bald when he received Josh's heart, inexplicably grew a full head of hair, started craving sweets and ate a bowl of Frosted Mini-Wheats cereal every night - all traits that had belonged to the young man who died of the injuries he sustained in a car crash near Dauphin Island.

One of the people Josh was closest to in the world was his cousin, Shiloh Sumrall. They were born nine months apart and lived on the same street for the first couple of years of their lives, and they attended the same school. She describes their relationship as "partners in crime, best friends and soul mates."

All these years after his death, Shiloh loves to talk about Josh. "He encompasses so many memories," she said. "It's so strange to me that 13 years can feel like a moment ago. I love him. I love thinking about him." Continue reading
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