Recovering from a Devastating Leg Injury to Running Boston 2024

Jan 26, 2024

Meet Brandon Wells

“Do not accept ‘no’ as an answer. You can do anything you put your mind to.”
– Brandon Wells, Executive Director of Dermatology and Skin Health and member of Team IMPACT’s Boston Marathon 2024 Team

In April of 2013, Brandon Wells was at a low point. He had broken his leg in four places while skiing. In February of that year, he was in Boston, living alone, starting his long recovery. Doctors told him his surgically repaired leg would have the function of a peg leg and that there was no need for physical therapy as it would do him no good. Brandon used a strap to move his leg physically.

At the time of his accident, Brandon was a student at Emmanuel College in Boston and an intern at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He went from boxing and heliskiing to struggling with basic daily tasks such as putting on pants. On that fateful day in Boston, Brandon watched the Boston Marathon on TV alone in his apartment as his friends gathered in Boston and along the route to watch the marathon and cheer on friends running the iconic race. When the bombs went off, and as the horror set in, Brandon realized his personal situation was not that bad. He needed to “get my butt up” and be part of the city’s healing. His mindset shifted, and his healing journey took an inspiring turn.

Brandon’s Healing Journey

Brandon’s healing journey included the mental strength of not accepting no as an answer. When told physical therapy would not help him, he demanded to get the care he needed. He was granted access, and his leg and mobility significantly improved. As his physical healing progressed, he identified issues in the medical systems and processes that led him to his professional calling: optimizing and improving medical care, processes, and systems for a holistic approach that benefits both the patient and the practice.

Today, Brandon is the Executive director of Dermatology and Skin Health. He thanks a mentor who advised him not to go to medical school, but instead to leverage his unique and innate abilities to identify the process and systems improvements for the betterment of patient care and patient experience, including aftercare. At eight years old, Brandon lost his brother due to a battle with RSV and glaring holes in the medical system. This tragedy led Brandon not to take anything for granted, to be passionate about living life to its fullest, and to focus his career on improving medical practices in terms of patient care, processes, and systems to be patient centric.

A Career Move Leads to IMPACT Melanoma

Brandon did not let the unfavorable prognosis for using his leg hold him back. Despite not having feelings in parts of his leg, he is back to boxing and has started running, embracing the Peloton training programs to get and stay active. Last year, Brandon ran his first marathon while living in Kansas City, Missouri.

Now Brandon is back on his home turf, living in New England and, in July, joined Dermatology and Skin Health practice, where he started to learn more about IMPACT Melanoma via the practice owner, Dr. Gary Mendese. Dermatology and Skin Health is a Partner in Prevention with IMPACT Melanoma as they certify professionals in early skin cancer detection. The practice leads training on the Skinny on Skin program in which hair stylists, nail technicians, tattoo artists, estheticians, and other professionals are certified to identify client skin changes to detect potential skin cancer early.

Brandon’s mother benefitted from this training as her hair stylist identified a growth on her scalp while shampooing her hair. Brandon’s mom sought treatment and is now cancer-free. As Brandon got up and running in his new position, he was thrilled to learn he could apply to run the Boston Marathon as part of Team IMPACT, allowing him to act on that thought from April 2013, when it first entered his mind to be part of the city’s healing.

Running on his Home Turf for IMPACT Melanoma

Brandon is kicking off his 18-week training for the 2024 Boston Marathon, 11 years after severely breaking his leg. His wife, Caroline, acts as his Mickey (Rocky Balboa’s trainer), getting him up and motivating him on days when he would like to take a day off. Another source of motivation is their baby son, Jack, for whom Brandon wants to serve as a role model for mental toughness and setting high goals. Imparting to Jack that he, too, can do anything he sets his mind to.

Brandon looks ahead to April with great excitement as he runs the Boston Marathon on his own home turf, raising money for IMPACT Melanoma to increase awareness of the dangers of UV rays, promote early detection through programs like Skinny on Skin, and save lives.

To tap into Brandon’s incredible mental toughness, do not accept no from a person, a system, or a process. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something.

Today, Brandon thinks back to April 2013 and could not have imagined where he is now: a member of Team IMPACT to run the Boston Marathon, the Executive Director improving patient care and practice processes at Dermatology and Skin Health, a husband, and a dad.

IMPACT Melanoma is inspired by Brandon Wells and is grateful to have him as part of Team IMPACT to run Boston. We will be cheering him every step of the way.

To increase awareness of melanoma, save lives, and support Brandon running Boston in April for Team IMPACT, click here.

 

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