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Brad Taylor

My Story

Brad's story began in 1964 when he was diagnosed at seven months with incurable lung disease Cystic Fibrosis (CF). With lungs clogged by sticky mucus, doctors gave him no hope of survival into adulthood. By the age of six Brad realized his life was going nowhere and believed he would be dead by the age of 10.

During Brad's early years, his parents went from doctor to doctor in an attempt to find someone who could treat the little known disease. Brad felt cheated and frustrated with life until he met internationally-acclaimed Australian physician and anti-nuclear activist Dr Helen Caldicott. Dr Caldicott became a special woman in Brad's life with her never-say-die attitude inspiring him to take on the disease and beat it. From that time Brad became a fighter to be around one day when there would be a cure or treatment for CF. His 7th birthday wish was to fulfil a dream no matter the obstacles that lay ahead - to do the things other boys his age took for granted.

For the next 18 years he had the same wish on every birthday and never stopped hoping.

At age 16 Brad received the invalid pension. Because of chronic chest infection he needed chest physiotherapy four times a day - performed faithfully by his mum - and regular hospital admissions for intravenous antibiotic treatments.

At 24 Brad needed full-time oxygen, had right heart failure and 24% lung capacity, and was given just 6-12 months to live. The cardiologist confided to Brad's dad that he would eventually fall into a coma and that the only thing to do was to make him as comfortable as possible. At 25, and past his allotted time for living, Brad's 7th birthday wish came true. He survived one of Australia's first heart and double lung transplants at the Alfred hospital, Melbourne. It was also Australia's first 3-way domino transplant (1990) where he gave his old heart to a girl needing a heart transplant, and became Australia's first live heart donor.

Empowered with his new lease of life, Brad entered into fun runs, played football, parasailed and skydived. He skydived into Football Park at the start of the Crows v Richmond match on 3 July 1994.

In 1991 Brad began work as Promotions Officer with Cystic Fibrosis South Australia, undertaking public speaking engagements to educate school and university students, and service club members. In 1996 Brad also established a motivational speaker business to encourage others to 'believe in your dreams'. He has spoken to insurance, real estate and multi-level marketing companies. His openness, honesty and sense of humour have developed a rapport with his audiences. His story of courage and determination touches all who hear it.

Over the years following his transplant, Brad has received the John Nevin Rising Star award as an up and coming young professional speaker, been awarded the Australian Sports Medal by the Governor General of Australia, represented his country and State in Transplant Games, carried the Olympic Torch in 2000, and presented a professional talk in Sweden at the World Transplant Games.

In 2006 Brad suffered a near fatal stroke due to high blood pressure from his drugs. A six cm bleed to the right side of the brain caused paralysis to the left side of his body. After an unexpected recovery, he has continued to work hard at rehabilitating his body and resuming an active life.

Love found a way in a special relationship with Kaye, a music teacher from Gawler. Brad and Kaye married on 21 April 2007.

In 2012, after 22 years of invigorated life, Brad is recognised as one of the world's longest surviving recipients of a heart and lung transplant. A new challenge emerges with the deterioration of kidney function due to long term use of the drug Cyclosporin. While still maintaining a fit body and mind he heads towards a kidney transplant with optimism and with his sister as the donor.

"Real life story... dreams CAN and DO come true"
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