Reporter: David Tate
Rocky Mount, VA - It's Brain Surgery Awareness Month, and we want to introduce you to two teenagers who both had to have life saving brain surgery in November.
That's not where the similarities stop. Both boys go to Franklin County High School and both had surgery at the same hospital - just a day apart. Oddly enough, they didn't know each until just before their surgeries. They found comfort from each other at a very difficult time, leading to support from an entire community.
Teenagers dream about what they will do with their lives and Franklin County senior Brandan Arthur is no different. His dream was to join the Army and become a chaplain, a dream that about a year ago would come to a screeching halt.
"The first thing they did is check the tests and I couldn't see anything to the left at all. So, they checked my eyes for my pupils to see if they dilated and only one dilated," said Brandan.
Further testing would reveal a benign tumor that doctors believe may have been growing all his life.
At the same time, Franklin County junior Greg Meier was having problems of his own. Severe headaches were causing alarm.
"And when I went to the hospital they said, 'Let's do an MRI', and that's when they spotted it," said Meier.
"It" also being a brain tumor. And while the two boys didn't know it at the time, they would come together by a stroke of fate and foresight.
Brandan and his father began a Facebook prayer page which would soon lead to the Arthurs learning about Greg.
"So I threw it on Facebook and I said, 'Greg Meier, wherever you are you gotta know this, but dude, we support you too. God's with you," said Arthur.
And from there the boys fought together.
First on Facebook then from UVA hospital, where they were comforted by knowing each other wasn't going through this tough time alone.
"You know that someone's going through the same thing as you. In a way you can connect better. They know how it feels," said Meier.
Brandan was able to return to school and graduate, where Greg has only been able to come back part time. But the story of their friendship moved the community, which in turn offered the boys even more team members than they could ever imagine.
"The feeling is beyond. To think that anyone would go out of their way for you or for someone else? You don't get to stand up there and say how proud of you you are for yourself. You are just humbled," said Arthur.
Support came through prayer, through donations and through helping out whenever the families needed it.
A lesson in life for two families that spread to a whole community. A community forced to come together many times in recent years to grieve lives tragically lost is now coming together to celebrate two lives saved.
"They really took it serious and they made it like a family. Made it like a large family and that just an experience you will never forget," said Brandan's father Tray.
Both surgeries are considered successes although both young men still have to continue getting tests to see how things are faring.
In Brandan's case, doctors were forced to leave some of the tumor and now monitor it for signs of growth.
Greg continues to recover from his surgery but is having to re-learn how to read and write as well as re-learn everything about his past, much of it lost during surgery.