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.