Saving a Life Through the Scranton Network

    May 23, 2018

    This article originally appeared in The Scranton Journal.

    While it has become commonplace for University of Scranton alumni to use the Scranton network to advance their careers, occasionally the network can present a Royal with the unique opportunity to affect another life for decades, to change an uncertain outlook into a happy ending through the magic of the Scranton family.

    This is one of those stories, and it begins with an unexpected health concern in Maryland.

    Christy and Eugene

    Christy (Carden) Bradley ’98, G’99 and her husband, Eugene Bradley, dated while Christy studied to be a physical therapist at Scranton. After Christy graduated, they married and moved to the Baltimore, Maryland area.

    In January 2015, Eugene, who was in great shape and competed in triathlons, underwent routine medical testing and discovered that his kidneys were only functioning at 40 percent.

    “I found it hard to believe because … I felt great,” he said.

    Eugene said his doctors advised him not to overexert himself and to watch his sodium intake while they monitored his levels. In October 2016, Eugene’s levels began to plummet as he experienced symptoms of abnormal kidney function.

    “You’re anemic, you lose a bunch of weight, you’re incredibly cold all the time,” he said.

    When his kidney function dropped to 20 percent, Eugene was put on a transplant list. His doctors said if he could receive a transplant before dialysis was necessary, the chances of him regaining his previous quality of life would dramatically improve. When Christy posted a Facebook message asking their family and friends to consider becoming living donors, the Scranton network stepped in.

    Network Working

    Eugene and Christy knew a fellow Scranton grad, Christy Meyer Bric ’93, through an adult sports league in the Baltimore area. When Meyer Bric learned of Eugene’s condition through Christy Bradley’s Facebook post, she was inspired to help.

    “It clicked in my brain that we had another Scranton alumnus in the area who was a kidney transplant surgeon,” Meyer Bric said.

    That alumnus was Matthew Cooper, M.D. ’90, director of Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation at MedStar Georgetown Transplant Institute, which facilitates about 250 kidney transplants annually. Meyer Bric connected the Bradleys with Dr. Cooper a few days before Thanksgiving 2016.

    “We immediately arranged a visit for a transplant evaluation,” Cooper said. “He had a willing, living donor in his brother … and we were able to move through (the process) relatively rapidly.”

    The Bradleys said Cooper went out of his way to provide exceptional care, giving them his personal cell phone number and responding immediately whenever a question arose. The staff at his Georgetown clinic even referred to them as “The Scranton Bradleys,” which made them feel at ease.

    “I feel like he didn’t just take great care of my husband,” Christy Bradley said. “He took great care of me, too.

    “I don’t know where we’d be if Christy hadn’t reached out and said, ‘Hey, I know Dr. Cooper.’”

    Since the surgery in February 2017, Eugene’s condition has improved dramatically, and he has become an advocate for MedStar’s transplant program, bringing awareness to the continued need for organ donations.

    Cooper, who is proud to see his daughter, Julia ’19, study nursing at the University, was happy to help, seeing it as an opportunity to jump into action for a family member.

    “This really is what I believe the Alumni Society is all about,” he said. “We take care of each other. Reach out to a Scranton alum and they’ll open their door to you. Not every school can say that.”

    Read more from The Scranton Journal, here.

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