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Lou and Brad's Story

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PULMONARY FIBROSIS & COPD

Temple Lung Center patients, Lou and Brad

Lou (left) and Brad (right) have a unique friendship as they share a set of lungs.

Like most friends, Brad and Lou have a lot in common. They love coffee and donuts. They have a similar positive outlook on life. They’re veterans. Unlike most friendships, though, the two men are also physically connected. They share a set of lungs.

When Brad was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, he says he struggled a lot. “I was always the leader,” says Brad. “I was the one who told people ‘if you want to live, follow me,’ so it was really hard to be sick.” He says his COPD was most evident while trying to play golf, his favorite sport. Every few minutes he had to stop and catch his breath, even when driving a cart. After being denied to be listed for a lung transplant by other hospitals, Brad worried he would receive the same news from the Temple Lung Center. He remembers getting the call: “It was a Tuesday afternoon and I was waiting in the car while my wife finished running errands in the store.” His cell phone rang and he recognized the Philadelphia area code. “When you see that number and then you push that button to answer… well, your whole life is on that line." He was overjoyed to find out he was accepted. Within a week, he and his wife bought an RV and moved from Harrison, Arkansas, to Philadelphia.

Lou was born and raised in upper North Philadelphia. After starting treatment for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis at another hospital, he learned about an educational seminar on IPF hosted by the Temple Lung Center and decided to transfer his care. A self-described “positive guy,” Lou says he faced harder issues than lung disease. His father died when he was only 12 years old and his wife passed away. Three letters engraved on a keychain remind him to keep his head up: “PMA,” short for Positive Mental Attitude. As Lou faced serious fluctuations in his health, he held onto his keychain and remained optimistic.

Temple patients, Lou and Brad, laughing and talking in lobby

Brad and Lou received the call for a transplant on the same night. Their lungs came from the same donor. First introduced to each other after their surgeries by rehabilitation therapists at the Temple Lung Center, the two men instantly connected. They found comfort in relaying, and relating to, each other’s war stories.

“Brad got the left one, and I got the right one… because I’m always right,” teases Lou. The nurses and staff started to call them “lung brothers.”

Both men feel a deep gratitude for their new lungs, which is why they frequently meet with patients to share their story as well as speak publicly about their experience at educational events. “I want to make sure whatever’s left of my life has meaning,” says Brad. “With a transplant, you have someone else’s life in you so the way you live your life is important.” Lou adds: “We were raised to believe if you can do something good for somebody then you just do it.”

In the coming days, Brad is looking forward to moving back to Arkansas to spend time with his great granddaughter as well as resume his golf game. He recently participated in his first tournament since his diagnosis and won third place. Lou has his sights set on the seashore-- he’s preparing for a vacation to the beach where he is excited to be able to walk in the sand again. He’s also happy to resume spending time with his five children and 14 grandkids.

Together, the pair plan to keep in touch over the phone and through email as they continue advocating for education and awareness about lung disease. They say they’re thankful to be connected to each other and for the care they continue to receive from the Temple Lung Center.