Fight To Smile Again


Hi everyone, I’m Bradley Parker;  I wanted to share the story of my journey and why I`m reaching out to you for your help.

In 2005, at the age of 17 and two weeks after my high school graduation from Whitney H. Young, I was diagnosed with a rare and inoperable childhood brain tumor, anaplastic astrocytoma grade III. I had been accepted to the University of Missouri (MIZZOU), so prior to this diagnosis I was looking forward to college life and being from under the parental rules (lol). Needless to say, I was devastated, but after I got past the shock, I was “all in” for the fight of and for my life! I had my family, friends and most importantly I had my church family, Covenant United Church of Christ, to help me through it all.

Within months, instead of checking into a dorm, I was checking into the hospital to have surgery; that's when it was discovered the tumor could not be removed. Shortly thereafter I began radiation and chemotherapy treatments; MY FIGHT HAD BEGUN! I was still determined to continue my education, so I enrolled into a community college and my advisor at MIZZOU held my spot for me to start in January of 2006. My faith was strong, my prayers were being answered and the encouragement and support from family, friends, and even strangers was amazing; and came January, I checked into my dorm! However, chemo, radiation and campus life collided and my health took a turn for the worse. After a hospital stint at school, I had to withdraw and entered the hospital at home in Chicago; overall, I was in the hospital for 6 weeks; my prognosis was grim and doctors recommended I be placed in hospice care. I likened the next 3 days to nothing short of a miracle from GOD because the day I was to transfer to the hospice, I awoke from a semi-comatose state and went home! But, I wasn’t out of the woods, and my treatment options were limited; but again GOD showed up and led me to a wonderful medical team at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Over the next few years, I went through clinical trials and chemotherapy, health setbacks and recoveries.  In 2009, still under doctor's care and by God's grace and mercy, I was able to resume my college education and graduated with Cum Laude honors from Chicago State University on May 17, 2012. I also was blessed to find the love of my life and to have an energetic [now] 5 year old son and a lovely stepdaughter…I give thanks to GOD everyday!

It is 2018, and I am still here by the grace of GOD, but this journey has not been without lasting physical challenges and disabilities. Because the tumor is located on nerves next to my brain stem, I have progressively lost almost all functionality on my right side and the residual effects from the radiation has caused damage to my trigeminal nerve that has led to pain, severe teeth wear and loss where I now need to have extensive dental restoration done and placement of dental implants. Due to the dysphagia and aspiration health issues I have, this is my only option. I  struggle everyday because the gravity of the teeth wear has impacted my ability to chew and digest food and places me at high risk for aspiration pneumonia because I am forced to consume predominantly soft and thin type foods. I have been hospitalized several times in recent years for aspiration pneumonia which weakens me greatly and causes major weight loss; two things that are detrimental to a person battling cancer.

As tough as my journey has been, I have beaten many odds and overcome many challenges. Through it all I have maintained my faith, remained positive, and kept a smile on my face. In fact, the one thing that people have always told me is that they were amazed that I was able to smile knowing all the ups and downs I’ve endured and that they were inspired by it. Now, the one thing that helps me to get through my day has been taken away because the damage to my teeth is so severe!

Even though I've lost my will to smile, I have not lost my fight and I remain encouraged and determined to overcome this challenge! But, this is one challenge where I need your help because the cost of the necessary work is beyond affordability and insurance will only cover a fraction of the cost; and the need is CRITICAL!  

The cost for the work is approximately $35,000, and because of the urgency, I have set a 45 day deadline to raise the money in order to avoid further delay of this necessary work and jeopardy to my health. Your support and blessings will be greatly welcomed and very much appreciated.

Thank you for reading my story and for joining me on my “fight to smile again” journey.

 With sincere gratitude and love,

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Bradley Parker
Fort Worth, TX

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