I ask you to join us in our efforts to support one of, (if not) the most INSPIRATIONAL people you will EVER meet in your life. The young man I refer to is nothing but a walking, breathing, loving miracle that has overcome life's many challenges, (all of which you and I will likely never encounter) to enrich the lives of family and friends that surround him... He has achieved this through sheer endurance and an unrelenting determination to conquer his health hurdles in order to live a fulfilled life that he can personally be proud of.
His name is Brendan Grimley, and he is one of my most precious life long friends...something I am sure many of you reading this will strongly resonate with from a personal viewpoint. Brendan is loved by everyone for his wit & humour, sensitivity, kind heart, free and wild spirit and his drive to accomplish big dreams even when life dishes up lemons to make something sweet out of.
So why should you bother to support him and his plight? Quite simply because Brendan is a one in a billion kind of guy with a one in a billion set of problems and the world would be at an absolute loss without him. The following is just some of his story...
Born on the 25th of March 1986, Brendan came out "swinging" into this world with a very rare and complicated heart condition that essentially meant his heart "grew back to front" and would see him completely reliant on a pacemaker from the age of 3. At the time, Doctor's never really thought that Brendan would live past certain age milestones, and on more than one occasion they were almost right. Due to Brendan's complex physiology and clinical condition, (complete heart block) he and his beautiful family have spent literally years in hospitals to see him undergo more than 20 surgeries, several of which were open heart surgical procedures for reconstructive heart work and device implantation. But nothing would be worse, (in Brendan's opinion) than what he is fighting against now.
At the age of 22, Brendan was working as an accomplished, fine-dining sous-chef in Canada where he suffered from a suspected stroke. Subsequently, he had to give up his life and dreams of making it big overseas in an industry that he was so passionately and creatively involved in to return to Australia for diagnosis and treatment. Diagnostic studies could not confirm a stroke and it is now thought that this was the initial onset of a debilitating disease; Multiple Sclerosis, (MS).
Brendan didn't let this new finding break his stride, even though he would suffer from bouts of extreme lethargy, severe leg pain and weakness, dizzying migraines and a gamut of other issues that are associated with the effects of MS.
Fast forward roughly 6 years, (with a string of cardiology/neurology challenges along the way) to July 2014 where Brendan began his health descent and seriously collapsed at work due to a pacemaker failure. This landed him in hospital for one month in addition to having two months off of work for recovery. Unfortunately, from there on in Brendan's situation has worsened to the point where you will now find him in a Brisbane Hospital, bed bound and in incomprehensible amounts of pain caused by seizures that are both frightening and heart-breaking to watch. He has been in his current state, (unable to walk) for the past 5 months where Doctors thought that he would be in and out within a 2-3 week period. Brendan requires the highest degree of care in an Acute Care Facility to manage his painful and intense seizure episodes, where he could experience up to 12/day between 15-120 mins in duration. His neurologist believes it to be a rare condition called TRANSVERSE MYELITIS, but no one can be sure without an MRI procedure of which Brendan CAN NOT have due to the presence of metal screws located in his heart wall, (from a historical procedure).
Whilst Brendan is in care and is in his current state, he will require an acute care bed in Hospital, an array of pain medication, neurological, cardiology medications to keep his health somewhat balanced, investigative clinical procedures and specialised support equipment to help him with mobility. Brendan's left leg has been rendered fairly useless due to extensive neurological trauma and there will be a long rehabilitative pathway ahead for him to regain full use of his body.
All of the above comes at a SIGNIFICANT FINANCIAL COST that he and his family can't support on their own and without the help of family, friends and the broader community.
SO FAR, Brendan's upfront and short term medical expenses have cost him in excess of $10k. We have clear sight for the next 6 months, where he will require in excess of $50k for medical equipment, medications and the major expense for a full-time carer to support his recovery and residual health challenges.
OUR GOAL IS TO RAISE $50,000 OVER THE NEXT 6 MONTHS to support Brendan's path to recovery.
For those of you who know Brendan, I'm sure you would all agree that he would be the last guy to ask for a handout and the first guy to give you his last dollar if you were in need of it. Because of this, I am asking on his behalf to dig deep to support this cause. Words could never describe how grateful he would be, for the care and love you show to him during this difficult period.
We all pray for this to end very soon, where Doctor's are highly confident that this will come to an end at some stage in the future. Please don't interpret any of what I have written as being a hopeless cause to support... If you think so, think again, as you are seriously underestimating the ability of this man to recover from life changing episodes that he has proven time & time again that he can make a comeback from.
All Brendan wants for, is a chance to live a better life where he can self-identify with something other than being the "sick guy." This is of course his own self-assessment, as we all see his accomplishments regardless of the challenges you and I likely have never faced and never will face. If you are unfortunate enough to be burdened with this, my heart goes out to you as I'd never wish this life prospect on my worst enemy... Please help him to make this comeback, to give him a real chance to love and be active in a way that everyone is so desperately waiting for!
With that request, I'd like to leave you with the kind words of someone that was only up until very recently a complete stranger to Brendan and his family/friends. This lady, (that I only know as Sheila) posted the following to his Facebook roughly a month ago from a hospital bed located down the hall from him. Sometimes, it's the words spoken by a "stranger" that can give you the most powerful and unbiased insight into someone, how special they are, and how needed they are to make this place a better world. Please take another moment to read her words...
"So I meet this guy in the hospital. He's the one that wakes me at night with his groaning and screaming during his constant seizures. My heart breaks every time I hear him because I'm powerless for once and I can't take away his pain or mental anguish, but, in a strange way it heals me as I realize how lucky I am and how minor my pain is compared to his. This guy has the most precious gift of a wicked sense of humour. Brendan has this essence of cool that makes you feel like you're his best mate. He is also the epitome of understated bravery as I would be packing it if I were in his position. He handles everything with uber cool and I really admire that. I'm sure that Brendan Grimley will have a bright future as he has got through this past 4 months of BS and has come out smiling and that's why he is special to me. His mum and David have let me become part of Brendans hospital life and that's really nice. Anyway, hi Brendan and welcome to my online world. Love ya Sheila x"