Recently, CNN aired an “Anderson Cooper Special Report: To Heaven and Back,” which chronicled three stories of people who recount leaving their bodies, going to heaven – and then coming back to life. One of the stories featured Benjamin Breedlove, 18, of Austin, who had his heavenly experience while being wheeled through Dell Children’s Medical Center.
After this, Breedlove posted a video that went viral that has attracted more than 8 million views. A “Part 2” video has more than 5.3 million views. Both of them and related videos are available on YouTube.
Breedlove, who had a severe heart condition, died on Christmas Day in 2011, about a week after posting his videos.
Part of the CNN segment – recounting when Breedlove saw a white light while at Dell Children’s – was shot in the Clinical Education Center at Brackenridge this past fall.
Here is a summary of the CNN story as it appears on the network’s website:
It was December 18, 2011, a week before Christmas, and 18-year-old Benjamin Breedlove went to his bedroom.
He had spent the day with his family. They had held church at their home in Austin, Texas, because the teenager was ill. Since childhood he had battled hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a heart condition that posed a constant risk of sudden death.
In his short life, Benjamin — Ben as he was known to family and friends — had suffered three heart attacks, including an episode the night before.
Two weeks earlier he suffered heart failure while he was in school.
He collapsed on the campus commons, according to students and the school nurse.
For three minutes, his heart stopped.
Now, after two heart attacks in as many weeks, he and his family were holding church inside their house. The family read from the Bible and prayed for Ben.
‘After we were finished, Ben prayed for us. He prayed that we wouldn’t be sad or scared,’ his sister, Ally Breedlove said.
Then, on that day a week before Christmas, the teenager disappeared into his room where he made a two-part video titled ‘This Is My Life’ that he posted to YouTube unbeknownst to his parents.
He used index cards to recount his collapse at the high school.
‘I heard them say ‘he’s not breathing. His heart stopped, and he has no pulse,” the cards read.
He said he saw a white light.
The teenager said he felt at peace. ‘I didn’t want to leave that place,’ he said in his video.
Then Ben said he woke up on the floor of the school.
A week later, on Christmas Day, Ben opened presents with his family. They played a game of Monopoly. Then he went outside to watch his younger brother bounce on a trampoline.
‘I looked outside my kitchen window, and I took a mental snapshot of Ben smiling,’ his mother, Deanne Breedlove, said. ‘That was the last time I saw Ben smile.’
Minutes later, he suffered heart failure.
As Ben lay dying, the video he made had gone viral with hundreds of thousands watching it.
Its closing lines: ‘Do you believe in angels or God? I do.’