Victorious - a Column by Brad Dell

hope, funeral, social, ableism, funeralBrad Dell is a Deaf 27-year-old with cystic fibrosis. He received a double-lung transplant from UC San Francisco in January 2017, then cochlear implants nine months later. He now lives in Hawaii, where he was raised. Usually he’s traveling the world, chugging coffee, mentoring college students, or studying theology. Otherwise, he’s working as the director of columns at BioNews, the publisher of CF News Today. (OK, he’s still drinking coffee while he works.) He writes to undo the taboo surrounding lung transplantation. Catch him on Instagram at @coffee.cats_

Even the Sick Boy Found Peace in Sacrifice

I really did think it’d be my last Christmas. Sure, I was on the lung transplant list, but the doctors said I’d have to wait months before donor lungs became available. I was daily coughing up chunks of green gravel, trapped in a slow suffocation and ending each night wondering…

Such a Privilege That Someone So Young Should Be So Sick

“It’s not very romantic, swaddled in sweaty, soiled hospital blankets. It’s slow, it’s ugly. And it could happen to anyone — anyone — and likely will if they don’t meet a sudden, violent end. People don’t like to confront the inevitability of sickness, nor the inevitability of death.” Professor…

Don’t Discourage Your Hurting Friend’s Faith

When things fell apart, I screamed at God to glue me back together again. I’d been struck deaf, and putty clogged my lungs — airways literally gurgled when I inhaled. I puked several times daily between the panic attacks that ripped my mind to shreds. My whole body ached…

Unbearable Medical Costs Are a Systemic Injustice for the Disabled

My message is simple: It is a systemic injustice, even ableist, to heap unbearable financial burdens on people with disabilities (PwD). Before I continue: This column doesn’t critique political parties or provide solutions; it raises red flags so others are mobilized to finding solutions. This column focuses on issues…

We, the Wounded, Must Share the Burden of Fear

She seemed cool and collected when her big surgery date was confirmed. And the next day, Britt seemed better than fine — super, even. She was a blond blur of energy, a real firecracker, flinging jokes this way and that in her thick New Englander accent. I…

Stillness Silences the Sound of Striving

Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers of the film “Sound of Metal.” I yearn for the days I drew close, very close, to death. Each thought, emotion, and sight weighed heavy with significance. And each breath was precious; who knew if there’d be another? I’d become deaf, and…

My Life (and Death) Is More Than Statistics and Dead Dreams

It’s not my birthday or my lung transplant anniversary or anything. But today, I’m thinking about being old-ish. I’m thinking about how Mom realized my life expectancy in college biology, and how I realized it in middle school biology. I’m thinking about the times I drove myself nuts by…

How a Romance’s Death Led Me to Finding a More Powerful Love

I’ve been in love. It was magnificent. It also hurt. Love belongs among the most powerful building blocks of our cosmos. Passion drives creation, compassion nurtures it. Blend the two for love. Tragically, I’ve found that adding a sick body to the mix can threaten the balance. Passion wanes as…


Featured Column

How to Ask for and Offer Help

A banner for Kate Delany's "Breathe and Believe" column that depicts a pair of lungs with flowers blossoming from them.
In times of need, we may not know how to ask for help or offer it to others. Columnist Kate Delany shares helpful tips on how to do it.

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