Life hasn’t been easy for Lamar Bradley Jr. Yet despite his struggle to overcome liver failure and a paralyzing stroke, he considers himself to be “blessed.”
The word is tattooed on his right hand — a constant reminder that life is precious, albeit unfair.
Bradley, 29, is known as “Bubba,” by his friends and family. The Moncks Corner native experienced liver failure at the age of 4. His first transplant did not work and he underwent a second at age 5. Now the donated liver is worn out, its sluggishness has also triggered acute kidney disease. Bradley’s case was turned away by MUSC but accepted by Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.
This month Bradley travels to Atlanta for one final cardiology test before he can be added to the transplant waiting list. When the time comes, Bradley will receive a liver and a kidney.
Bradley receives dialysis three days a week for four hours. Outside of that, he’s a caregiver for his two nephews, age 10 and 7, and his niece, age 4, while their parents are at work. Now that the children are out of school for the summer, they draw, read, and play video games with their “Uncle Bubba.”
“I’ve had so much health problems going on that I’ve been limited to staying around the house,” Bradley said. “If it weren’t for that, me and my nephews and niece would be out somewhere having fun.”
Just a few years ago Bradley’s life was right where he wanted it to be. He earned an associates degree in autoCAD engineering from Trident Tech, and while he looked for work opportunities in that field, he worked two part-time jobs to support himself. In his free time he wrote and recorded songs at a small music studio in Moncks Corner. He had a house, a car, independence, and freedom.
But in 2015, he suffered from a brain aneurysm that left him paralyzed on the left side of his body. Doctors did not know what caused the aneurysm, they told Bradley that he would never regain mobility.
Bradley kept trying and over time, he managed to sit up, then to walk.
Today he walks with the help of a brace on his left leg. But his right leg is severely swollen due to lymphedema.
“I still do everything for myself; cook, wash my clothes, dress myself, walk to and from the transport vehicle (for dialysis),” Bradley said.
Lately all he can think about is his transplant day. Bradley has no way of knowing when he will receive his liver and kidney transplant but he said he hopes it will happen before he turns 30 in September. After that, he’ll have six weeks of recovery in Atlanta.
His brother, grandmother and aunt will each take turns staying with him through the recovery period. Bradley’s mother died two years ago, his father died in 2005.
Family and faith are what keep Bradley motivated. He grew up attending Cordesville First Baptist Church with his mother and grandmother.
Bradley said the health complications that he has survived have taught him that life is unpredictable, but faith can overcome any challenge.
“No matter how hard it seems, don’t give up,” Bradley said. “Anything can happen at any time. It’s up to you to roll with it or lay down. If you lay down, most likely you’re not going to survive. The moment you give up faith is the moment you are going to lose everything.”
A gofundme page has been set up to help Bradley with expenses related to his journey to Atlanta and those six weeks following his surgery.
Another fundraiser is accessible through Bradley’s Facebook page .