Brad's story

Brad's life saved during serious illness

Brad was on death's door when Life Flight's Westpac Chopper airlifted him to Wellington Hospital early one morning.

Brad, who was 19 at the time, had always wanted a ride on a helicopter - but not like that.

A combination of glandular fever, bilateral pneumonia and encephalitis shut down his body and he was rushed from Nelson to Wellington in October 2015 and put on life support.

"I had three viruses at the same time."

Brad remembers getting to Nelson Hospital in the early hours of the morning, and thinks he saw a sunset before collapsing.

Life Flight was brought in to "get me to Wellington as fast as possible", Brad said.

He couldn't walk, talk or move in the hospital and it took him three months to get walking again and about a month to talk properly.

He then got a chance to meet the team who helped save his life.


"If things had got worse, that may have been my last moment, so I really appreciate what they did for me." 

He wishes he could remember more about the flight that saved his life. But now, working and living a normal life back in Nelson, he repays the life-saving trip by volunteering his services to the Life Flight.

He has been a volunteer at the organization’s Open Day every year since his rescue.

Brad's mother, Jenny, also feels she can't do enough to sing their praises.

She still clearly remembers when Brad came to her room looking desperately ill at 3am. "He looked at me and there was no-one home."

Within hours her son was on life support in Wellington, and it was all down to the speedy work of Life Flight and the crew, she said.

"I can't say enough nice things about them. I always say. 'give to them, give to them’, because you never know what may happen," says Brad's mum.


This article was written by Lucy Swinnen and originally appeared in Dominion Post/Stuff on 19 March 2017