Brad’s NF Story
Brad’s NF Story
Having NF has been a day by day event for Brad, but while he is fortunate that his symptoms are not life-threatening, having strangers look away is one of the most painful symptoms of NF for him.
Brad was diagnosed with NF at four years old after brown spots began to appear on his skin. It wasn’t until the sensitive age of 13, when a single NF gene switched on, that Brad began to experience the life-changing visible symptoms of NF. Benign tumours began to grow externally on Brad’s arms and face, and continued to increase in number until he was well into his twenties.
What few understand is that while these confronting exterior tumours may have changed Brad’s life, others who have internal tumours face life-threatening complications as the tumours interfere with vital organs and can cause deafness, blindness, learning difficulties, and even death.
Fortunately for Brad the tumours did not start growing inside him. Despite his battles with NF, he knows that he is one of the lucky ones, and he has not let NF stop him from being involved in life.
“You know they’re talking about you and staring and you’ve just got to bear with that,” says Brad. “You can’t let that get to you because once you start letting something get to you, then it’ll stop you from doing what you’re actually meant to be doing.”
Brad is now 55 years old and works full-time with the Cerebral Palsy Alliance. He also volunteers his time to coach basketball for the Hornsby Ku-Ring-Gai basketball association, is a children’s leader at Hillsong Church Australia, and is on the Board of Directors at the Children’s Tumour Foundation of Australia.
“I never say ‘Why me?’ Once you get to know a person with NF the NF symptoms disappear and personality takes over. I am always honest and open about NF and this is who I am. There are others far worse off than me.”
Brad is committed to raising awareness about NF. He has been involved with many media stories and hopes that in sharing his story he is able to inspire others.