CULLMAN COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - The parents of Freeman Brannan are spreading a message after their son died only hours after he was diagnosed with cancer.
Darlene and Joey Brannan had no clue their 22-year-old son was sick until it was too late.
"I got a text from him asking if I thought I could take him to the doctor, which was very unusual for him because he very seldom went to the doctor for anything," Darlene said.
Darlene left work, and picked him up thinking it would be a simple trip to the urgent care. But when she saw Freeman, he was pale and short of breath. She drove him to the ER.
"He told me, he said, 'Mom, I think it's cancer and I think I've waited too late.' I told him, 'Son, don't say that, because we don't know that," Darlene said.
But a few hours later, the doctor confirmed Freeman's fears. It was testicular cancer, and it had spread to his lungs and liver. Darlene and Joey knew it was serious when they asked the doctor their options.
"He had talked about how long chemo actually took to make any difference and he said he doesn't have that long. He'd be lucky to have three days," Joey said.
Almost 24 hours after that, Freeman was gone. His parents were blindsided, thinking Freeman was either embarrassed or unaware of how serious his symptoms of swelling and rashes were.
"What 22-year-old male is going to go to his mom or possibly not even his father and say, 'Hey, look, I have these issues going on.' They're not going to do it," Joey said.
The Brannans are now urging parents to look for signs from your kids - physical and emotional - and to not be afraid to be nosey.
"No parent should have to bury their child," Darlene said.
"No, especially from something that. If he had just come to us sooner, the outcome probably would have been different," Joey said.