After a two year wait for a miracle that doctors said there was [auth] only a two percent chance of happening, Sarah Bradley now has a new heart. Bradley posted a video on Facebook shortly before going into surgery Monday afternoon. Her doctors say her future looks bright now. (Submitted Photo)
Roswell has been praying for Sarah Bradley and her family for two years now and those prayers are being answered in the best possible way. Sarah is now recovering from the heart transplant she received Monday, and that she has needed since her youngest son was born.
“She’s doing good,” Chris Bradley said of his wife’s condition. “Her goal was to be able to stand on her own, but she ended up doing a lap around the nurse’s station. She’s being a trooper. They’re looking at her getting out of the hospital in the near future, but we’ll have to stay in the area for another three or four months as long as everything stays on track. We will need continued prayers.”
Chris Bradley is a detective with the Roswell Police Department. He said the RPD has been very supportive throughout the entire ordeal.
“I have full support from my supervisors on everything,” he said. “They’ve been phenomenal throughout this entire process. (They) have made a big difference in our lives.”
Sarah Bradley was a healthy 27-year-old woman with one child and another on the way. That changed in her 33rd week of pregnancy. Suddenly she couldn’t sleep on her side or her back and breathing was getting more and more difficult.
In January 2015 Chris Bradley took Sarah to the emergency room. Shortly thereafter they were on their way to Albuquerque where Sarah was diagnosed with peripartum cardiomyopathy. The left side of her heart was no longer working.
After giving birth, she checked into the heart wing at the University of New Mexico Medical Center where they tried a regimen of medication in hopes that she might recover. Unfortunately, her heart was not responding as the doctor’s had hoped.
The Mayo Clinic in Phoenix implanted a left ventricular assist device to help her heart function until a donor could be found.
Chris Bradley said they weren’t given an optimistic outlook, but they knew not to give up and that they weren’t alone.
“They said it was a two percent chance they would find a match,” he said. “We want to thank Roswell for everything. From the prayers to everyone reaching out to us. I can’t even put into words what it means to both Sarah and I to know we’ve had this kind of support. Both of us grew up in Roswell and it makes us proud to say it’s where we live and everybody there has been wonderful, we love everybody.”
On the day that celebrates the greatest miracle in Christendom, their miracle arrived.
“It was Easter Sunday when we got the call,” Chris Bradley said. “I was still asleep. Sarah was getting ready, we were going to Dexter for Easter. She didn’t hear her phone ring, it was an unidentified caller. Then my phone rang and I didn’t wake up in time to get it. The voicemail said it was somebody from the Mayo Clinic, that they were going to call back in a couple of minutes and it is very important that we answer. They called right back.
“As soon as they started talking Sarah broke down in tears and I knew what it was about. For two years we’ve known exactly what to do, and in that moment it went right out the window. I probably did 40 laps around the house trying to figure out what I’m supposed to do.”
They had to get to Phoenix as quickly as possible.
“We had a hard time finding a flight,” Chris Bradley said, “but as soon as Sarah got hold of Native Air, there was a guy named Cory who did everything. He had a plane there in 45 minutes. It was phenomenal the way he conducted his business. It’s a blessing that he was on duty that day.”
By noon Monday things got very real.
“Surgery was Monday afternoon,” Chris Bradley said. “It was about an 8-1/2 hour procedure. They didn’t finish until almost midnight. We had to wait another hour or two after surgery to see her. She was still out from all the drugs.”
Chris and Sarah have been asking for prayers for the donor’s family. The privacy of the donor’s family is being protected, so they have not met them yet. The Bradleys continue to ask prayers for them.
“One thing we’ve requested is prayers for the family that lost a loved one,” he said.
“They told us it would take at least a year before they would tell us anything about the donor’s family. We can send a letter but if they reply we’ll get it in a year.”
Meanwhile, things are looking very good for Sarah.
“She’ll have to be on anti-rejection drugs for the rest of her life,” Chris Bradley said. “We’re supposed to come back for checkups. We’re going to get trained on the symptoms of rejection. She’s expected to have a normal and healthy lifespan.”
Through all the fear, doubt, hope and faith the Bradley family has been gracious. They extend their grace one more time.
“There is another family here,” he said. “A husband and wife were here for the final four and she had an incident and isn’t doing so well. So we’d like to ask for the prayer chain that has blessed us to now pray for them as well.”
The greatest way anyone can honor Sarah Bradley is to register as an organ donor. That can be done by visiting organdonor.gov
Donations for the Bradley family are being taken at gofundme.com/obaebw
Features reporter Curtis M. Michaels can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.