Branyan Hisel’s Story
On August 27, 2005, the Hisel’s family was forever changed when Branyan was born. Branyan’s mother did not have any tests done to detect any issues during her pregnancy. It wouldn’t have mattered; she would love her son no matter what.
When Branyan came into the world, Carrie and Troy Hisel did not know their son was born with Down syndrome, a genetic disorder. The morning after, the doctors conducted some tests and confirmed Branyan was one of 691 babies born each year in the United States with Down syndrome, making Down syndrome the most common chromosomal condition. As a family that did not have much education on Down syndrome, Carrie and Troy were sent to support groups to learn how to care for their child. As an infant, no one knew what the future would hold for Branyan, so they wanted to be prepared.
Carrie did a lot of research on therapies and exercises for Branyan. As he grew older, she continued to involve him in any sport and swim class she could think of. When Branyan was 5 years old, he could shoot hoops, throw a football and hit a baseball like no other. With the excellent coaching of his father, Troy, the family knew Branyan would one day participate in Special Olympics.
Before Branyan began with Special Olympics, Carrie’s parents, Bill and LaVerne Vetrano – owners of Vetro Winery – decided to switch gears in their business and started donating to Special Olympics Wisconsin. “Instead of charging for wine tastings, we accept donations to Special Olympics. We also hold events that are geared around donations for Special Olympics, throughout the entire year,” Tammi Vetrano, Events Coordinator for Vetro Winery.
“Our first year of donating was in 2008 at $350 and by 2015, we were able to donate $4,000. We started doing this for a different organization for special needs children, but soon turned to Special Olympics Wisconsin because we felt it better supported Carrie’s family with information on Down syndrome. Even when Branyan wasn’t fully a participant, Special Olympics took Carrie and Troy’s hand and lead them to new friendships and better information for Branyan. It’s because of Special Olympics Wisconsin (SOWI), Officer Niki Nelson from the Waukesha Police Department took Branyan to all kinds of events for Special Olympics, and now they are buddies. Officer Nelson is a HUGE supporter of SOWI and Branyan just loves her! This friendship was formed because of this great organization.”
Branyan began competing in Special Olympics at age 8. Basketball was his first sport and he dominated the court by winning a Gold medal at age 11. Branyan continues to play baseball and swim as well.
“One of the best things about our involvement with Special Olympics besides all the support from the organization is the location of our winery – the former St. Coletta grounds – where Rosemary Kennedy, sister to Eunice Kennedy Shriver (founder of Special Olympics), lived.
We are ALL so proud of Branyan and his accomplishments. His dance moves are beyond this world! Come see for yourself at the Second Annual Run for the Grapes 5K benefitting this AMAZING organization, ” Tammi Vetrano, Proud Auntie of a nephew with Down syndrome.