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“It’s like euphoria”: Alachua County firefighter gets a warm welcome home after months in hospital

Published: May. 18, 2022 at 7:22 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - As the sound of bells rang throughout UF Health Shands, Alachua County firefighter, husband, and father, Brandon Boothby, closed the chapter of one of the scariest seasons of his life.

“It’s crazy because you feel like you’re so helpless in there,” he said.

Boothby was diagnosed with a rare blood condition called Aplastic Anemia, and needed a bone marrow transplant to survive. He spent about four months in the hospital.

RELATED STORY: “This could save his life”: Alachua County firefighter needs bone marrow transplant after rare diagnosis

“We didn’t really know if there was going to be a good end to this,” said Lauren Boothby, his wife.

After chemotherapy and a transplant, doctors cleared him to go home.

“From packing up my luggage cart to coming down the elevator to seeing this, it’s like euphoria,” said Brandon.

Boothby has been a firefighter for six years with Alachua County Fire Rescue. He said over the years his coworkers have become family.

“When one of us is hurting, we’re all hurting and we’re there to support not just the individual member but their family,” said Jeff Taylor, Deputy Fire Chief.

Boothby said while he doesn’t know his bone marrow donor, he’s forever grateful for them.

“Thank God for the person who was called upon and came to act on my behalf. They don’t know me and may never know me. I hope they reach out and I think it’s just a great thing to do.”

He said he’s most excited to spend time with his wife and 5-month-old daughter at home, or anywhere that’s not a hospital room.

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