After Son's Death, Mom Adopts a Community

Emeril surprised Breakfast in Bed winner Susie Bratt, from Charleston, W.V.

ByABC News via logo
May 7, 2009, 12:20 PM

May 8, 2009 — -- It was Susie Bratt's generosity and strength that prompted her son's girlfriend to write into "Good Morning America" for Emeril's Breakfast in Bed contest.

"In two months, my boyfriend's mother Susie inspired a community to overcome unexpected death by living life with the same strength and generosity that she had instilled in her son. In February, her 23-year-old son lost his six-week fight with cancer," wrote Cristin Chase, the girlfriend of John Bratt III.

"As hundreds of young friends searched for answers and closure, Susie has welcomed and loved them as if they were her own. She has helped them find inner strength and use that energy to help others. Susie lost a son, but she became a mom to a community that needed her love and strength more than she'll ever know."

Susie Bratt's story begins with her close relationship with her son, Andy.

Growing up Andy Bratt was a popular baseball player, and his mother was sure never to miss a game.

"They'd love to play around. He'd give his mom piggy back rides on the field," said Bratt's friend Adam Brown.

Andy was a people magnet and most people remember him for his infectious smile. In his early 20s, he still lived at home. He had just purchased his first new car and started working as a graphic artist when tragedy struck.

In January, doctors diagnosed Andy with testicular cancer. The news was shattering, but he remained optimistic.

"He was positive the whole time ," Whitney O'Neal, Andy's girlfriend, said.