BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — Brenner Sweat and his brother Ballard spent a lot of time together in south Baldwin County growing up near Graham Creek Nature Preserve in Foley. They’d get outdoors any chance they could.
“These are our old stomping grounds. We’d ride motorcycles out here and just have a good time you know, enjoy what this area has to offer,” said Brenner.
The two were close in age, enjoying the same hobbies and always ready for adventure.
“We would go water skiing, jet skiing. We actually had the same friends. We ran in the same circles,” said Brenner.
Last August Ballard was in Orange Beach when he fainted at a condo. Brenner said his brother told him about the incident on a Saturday.
“Was kind of getting on him a little bit, saying man you need to go to the doctor,” said Brenner.
Brenner said his brother was healthy and in good shape. Ballard scheduled an appointment, but Brenner said that doctor’s visit never happened.
“He had an appointment and it was during the pandemic so the appointment was online and something happened I’m not sure it didn’t happen,” said Brenner.
That Monday Ballard suffered a heart attack that he’d never recover from. At the age of 43 he left behind a fiancé and two teenage boys, Ballard and Downing.
“It’s my goal to get closer to the children and I have gotten closer to the kids. They’re both good, strong kids. They’re just like their dad. He was a good person. He was wholesome, a person of morals, integrity, he had a great heart,” said Brenner.
This weekend Brenner will share his brother’s story at The American Heart Association’s Art for Heart event in Orange Beach. The organization tells us the problem with men and women putting off routine medical care and checkups during the pandemic has become such a problem they’re launching a new campaign titled ‘Don’t Die of Doubt in Baldwin County’ to encourage preventative care, reminding everyone to be on the lookout for symptoms associated with a heart attack or stroke.
“I’ve got some friends that have got checked out and have realized they’ve got warning signs and they’re going and having some surgeries done. I mean if that can help save his life then it wasn’t in vain. I want this to mean something,” said Brenner.
Brenner is urging everyone to take care of themselves and to know what those warning signs look like. It’s now his mission to make sure Ballard is never forgotten.
“Just going to try to carry on his legacy. I get to see the legacy in the kids, so he’s not gone so to speak. I think he’s still with us,” said Brenner.
Art for Heart Gala
The 30th annual Baldwin “Art for Heart” Black Tie Gala and Live Auction Presented by Community Senior Life is Saturday, April 9. The event runs from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Coastal Arts Center of Orange Beach. Contributions support cardiovascular research, professional and community education, and advocacy efforts.
For more information, or to make reservations, visit here.
WKRG News 5 is proud to support the American Heart Association. WKRG News 5 anchor Rose Ann Haven will emcee the event.