Will You Help Give Hope to Brad?
For 29-year-old Brad, constant hospital visits have been part of his life since he was seven months old. Unfortunately, Brad was born with chronic renal failure, a condition characterised by a gradual loss of kidney function over time. Brad’s mum Julie has been right by her son’s side from the beginning. This is her story…
“We were told Brad would need a kidney transplant several times during his life and he was put on dialysis for the first time when he was only eight-years-old. He was under the care of the Women’s and Children’s Hospital (WCH) when they confirmed I was the only compatible donor for Brad,” Julie explained.
“There was no question for me, I was donating my kidney to my son, he was nine-years-old when he had his first kidney transplant. It worked straight away which was fantastic, and it lasted five years until it unfortunately failed him.
“There was a lot of things going on, he was going through adolescents and all that – the doctors said at his age he was non-compliant with the anti-rejection drugs. It was difficult for Brad as he was growing up, he just wanted to be a normal kid.”
Brad went back on dialysis three days a week and he was moved to The Queen Elizabeth Hospital where Julie and Brad first met Professor Toby Coates, Director of Kidney and Pancreatic Islet Transplantation.
“Brad started suffering a lot of renal complications, high blood pressure, parathyroid (a hormone that regulates calcium levels in a person’s body), there was a lot of things wreaking havoc,” Julie said.
“He was about to give up around the age of 21 when he felt he couldn’t continue his life on dialysis and he was constantly in hospital. Then Prof Coates suggested we try my husband Greg’s kidney. It was a risk because they were different blood types but he was willing to try. It was the first incompatible kidney transplant done in South Australia.
“Prof Coates moved heaven and earth for Brad and we couldn’t be more grateful. The transplant was successful and the kidney was functional for 13 months until Brad’s body began rejecting it.
“Brad’s body thought it was my kidney again as there was only one point of difference in me and my husband’s DNA.”
Four years ago Brad got married and now his supportive and loving wife accompanies him to every dialysis appointment, which is five times a week.
It is imperative that kidney research continues so it gives people like Brad, Julie and their family hope for a better life. There needs to be more options for Brad moving forward.
“Prof Coates has played such a big part in Brad’s life and you just can’t put into words how important he is. He definitely touches people’s lives and his research is so important,” Julie said.
“As Brad’s mum, it breaks my heart watching him go through this each day, we can see his body fighting. He is very tired and has had a terrible year health wise. Unfortunately, there isn’t enough awareness about the effects of renal failure. I really wish he didn’t have to go through dialysis, it’s been a tough road this year especially.”
With your continuous support, research funded through KTDRA can continue to change the lives of people like Brad and bring us closer to a future free of this chronic disease.