Only someone with a heart of stone will fail to be moved by Peter Bradley’s predicament.
The former Camden High School student has had Multiple Sclerosis (MS) for almost 20 years but in the past 12 months his condition has quickly deteriorated so much he’s unable to do ordinary things like walk his kids to school.
The MS is attacking his nervous system and unless he receives immune stem cell therapy real soon, Peter, 45, will have no life at all.
The breakthrough therapy for MS sufferers is only available in the United States – and is not cheap.
It will cost more than $40,000, money Peter and his young family don’t have – who has a spare 40 or 50 grand lying around?
Peter has been married to Teressa for 10 years and they have two young children, daughter Sienna, 7, and son Caylem, 4. They live on the Gold Coast.
They have decided to ask their fellow Australians help them raise the money needed to save this fine young man’s life.
Recently they went online to start a go fund me fundraising campaign and have so far received pledges worth $10,680.
This morning I spoke to Peter Bradley using iphone Face Time and asked him how he had first found out he had MS.
“I woke up blind one morning, as simple as that,’’ he tells me.
“It was off to the optometrist and then all the medical tests and I was diagnosed with MS in 1998,’’ Peter said.
He immediately apologises for his speech, which is a little slurred, and I joke that he sounds like I did on Sunday night after I opened a third bottle of red wine after dinner.
You can see he’s a good bloke because he doesn’t take offence at my suggestion that he sounds a little drink.
Which is ironic because as part of his effort to fight MS, Peter says he doesn’t touch a drop.
Indeed he says he has tried every possible treatment for MS available in Australia, but nothing seems to have worked.
“Oh yes, everything, from steroid injections to detoxing and meditation,’’ he says.
Peter explains that MS means he basically does not have an immune system and that is precisely the therapy he needs.
Immune stem cell therapy would give him the chance to live a normal life once again.
“It’s expensive, but you only do it once and I have really looked into it, it has done wonders for those who have tried it,’’ he says.
Peter Bradley was born and bred in Camden, and naturally went to Camden High School, where he completed Year 12 in 1989.
His mother before him also went to Camden High School, and Peter says she has been unwell for a long time.
Camden High School is of course the subject of a likely class action by Marsdens Law Group on behalf of more than 600 former students.
The person who got the ball rolling six years ago, Leonie Curry, is no longer with us, having passed away last year.
Peter went to Camden High with Leonie and Natasha Hoare, who has taken over the baton for the cause.
Peter says he remembers some of the awful smells after the school was extended over the old Camden gasworks.
“Yes, I do remember smelling gas in the library and in the science lab,’’ he says.
Peter says he was in contact with Leonie Curry before she died.
“We talked about all those things, about whether people got sick because they went to Camden High,’’ he says.
It may only be a coincidence, but the late Leonie Curry also had MS before she was diagnosed as having two brain tumours.
Peter Bradley signed up for the class action and hopes that it will go ahead.
But in the meantime he has to focus on his immediate health need, which is getting over to the USA for the immune stem cell therapy.
“In the last 12-18 months my health has gone down significantly and now I can’t even walk my kids to school or do any activities with them,’’ Peter says on his go fund me page.
“My heart breaks when they want to go to the park and play or ask to go to the beach as I know that I cannot participate with them.
“I now struggle to walk without falling over and most days have trouble talking.
“A simple thing like using a knife and fork is now difficult for me.
Peter, who laughs when I ask him if he’s going to support the Cane Toads in this year’s State of Origin series – go the Blues, he says – was so moved by seeing perfect strangers pledge money to his cause he penned a thank you note and posted it on his go fund me page.
This craggy old journo had a little tear when Peter read it to me during our Face Time chat this morning.
This is what Peter Bradley wrote:
“I am sincerely moved and humbled by your generosity and support. I thank you from the bottom of my heart as this most importantly reflects your belief in me and I will beat this.
“My family and I will forever cherish this in our hearts. It’s great that I can teach my children that others are willing and able to help those in need with open hearts.’’
To help Peter Bradley, visit his go fund me page here – and please be generous.