I often think about why bad things happen to good people. So frequently, I meet amazing people who are tacking some of the biggest challenges that life can throw at us and I feel my chest tighten. It just seems so unfair when they exude so much wonderful positivity and kindness towards others that the universe would be so cruel to them. But I wonder if they are the way that they are because of this adversity. Kelly and Brandan’s story is one of overcoming these challenges but more powerfully, it is a story of love and devotion.
I think you should watch this video made by Kelly to understand a little more. It’s 15 minutes long but I promise you that it’ll make you feel something – something deep in your chest. I watch it now, seeing these two real people that I know in front of me, and I am close to tears.
The thing is, Brandan knew that this might happen one day – he’d battled with this rare form of cancer in his bile ducts once before and he also knew he genetically predisposed to it as well. His father sadly lost his own battle in his late 30s and Brandan’s brother had pre-emptive surgery as a teenager to remove any risk of future cancer battles.
I first heard from Kelly on May 3rd 2014 with their plans of a wedding sometime down the track, the day before you might notice her first entry in the video. I didn’t hear back from them for a week or so when she replied and apologised for the delay in writing back, explaining what had happened with Brandan. The wedding was on hold and I feared the worst for Brandan – I anxiously waited on every email we exchanged over the coming weeks to hear of his health improving and treatment being successful. Thankfully, on the 30th of May, Brandan was well enough to formally ask Kelly to marry her. By this point, I didn’t care in the slightest whether they would book me, I just wanted Brandan to be ok – even without having met them, I could see from Kelly’s email that they were two of the brightest lights in a lot of peoples’ lives.
Leading up to the wedding and subsequent to it, Brandan has completed another few rounds of surgery with countless scans and hospital visits. But in his last operation a few months ago, the surgeons removed 9 separate cancerous growths from Brandan’s lungs and amazingly, he’s currently all clear. I know that Brandan has a heart the size of an ox (and I know he’ll appreciate me making a joke about the fact that it’s not because of a cancer) – so he will fight this all the way. And Kelly’s never ending love, support and big beaming smile will be all the motivation he needs, whatever life throws at him. I can’t help but feel happy for them right now and I imagine it’s just about justice that there was a little happiness in their lives too.
Brandan is not in a unique situation. While his current health is good, there are many others who are facing the same challenges he has already experienced. With Kelly and Brandan’s permission, I’ve shared their story and have added a link to the bottom of this post to ask you to please consider making a donation to the Australian Cancer Council (or a national cancer research organisation of your choice). It’s only with more research and medical understanding that more people can be diagnosed early and treated with the best methods to maximise their chances of survival and long healthy lives.