The CFA wider community has thrown its support behind former Maryknoll CFA captain Brad Waterhouse, launching a crowdfunding campaign after learning that his cancer had sadly spread to the brain.
Led by good mate Lawrence Buck, the campaign which has already attracted $7700 in donations, will help Brad work through his bucket list while his health permits.
The “Tassie crew“ with whom he developed a strong friendship bond during the Tasmanian bushfires last summer, helped him cross the first item off his ’wish list’ last Thursday when he and his daughters, aged 10 and 13, took off on their maiden helicopter ride.
“I just want to make the most of the time I’ve got left with my kids,“ Brad told the Gazette.
“The helicopter ride was amazing. We flew up the coast of the bay, over the bayside suburbs and did a lap as far out as Williamstown. We flew over the Bolte Bridge and over the Exhibition Gardens, government house, the MCG and the shrine.
“It was just magic.
“It was a good memory for Hannah and Bethany to have.”
After putting up a strong battle in 2015 when he was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer and 47 chemo treatments later, Brad was found to be in temporary remission until he began feeling crook at the Maryknoll fire brigade’s Christmas barbecue at the end of last year.
The firefighter, who volunteered with the CFA for 18 years, left the Christmas party early and woke up the next day with double vision, a terrible headache and nausea.
“I have multiple inoperable brain tumours and stomach cancer,” Brad said.
“I found out just before Christmas.
“It’s really frustrating. Frustrating because at my age I should be helping my family, and my parents are the ones helping me. And frustrating not being able to help out with the fire brigade. I’ve been with them since 1999.
“I can’t be the active person that I am anymore.”
Brad had radiation treatment for 10 days straight that has improved his symptoms, and made him comfortable to go travelling and to explore new places around Australia.
He plans to go to Western Australia in May, hopefully with his daughters.
“I just want to spend time together with my kids, but it’s hard because I also don’t want to take them out of school,” he said.
“This campaign will help out a lot for me to go to special places with them, like Kimberley and the Bungle Bungle Range.
“I’m going to fight it as hard as I can and keep going for as long as I can.”
Brad was extremely grateful to his family, friends and especially the “Tassie crew“ for their ongoing support.
For more information about Brad’s crowdfunding campaign, search “Brad’s fight for family” at ozcrowd.com/search.
Originally published at Pakenham Gazette.