Remembering Chris Bradley: Caregivers call him gracious and grateful, even through illness

Chris Bradley | May 17, 2018

Chris' walk with cancer was long and arduous.

It meant months in the hospital, countless tests and trials and procedures.

With his family's permission, some of the people who guided him through his treatment spoke with 10TV about Chris.

Before March of 2017, they only knew him as the guy from TV.

"I knew he was a meteorologist, but I didn't really know him,” said Danielle Dunnington, one of Chris’ primary nurses at the OSU James Cancer Hospital.

Chris Bradley wasn't the first, or last, high-profile patient to be treated at the James.

"You always kind of worry if they're going to come in and have some demands,” she said. “You worry because you get a lot of other patients asking is he on the floor? And you can't say anything."

But Dunnington and Mi-Sun Loesch would soon come to know Chris in the most personal of ways:

Away from the cameras, the polished production of tv news, stripped of any perceived status.

He was just a man at the mercy of a vicious disease.

"You see his heart in all of it,” said Loesch. “And he just shined through all of it. Like how gracious he was, and how positive he was. And it was just a pleasure taking care of him Even when he was at his sickest times. He was just so happy and thankful.”

"Always. Always,” Dunnington agreed. “He would have trouble breathing and could barely catch his breath, and would go put oxygen on him and he would say ‘thank you.’ Even though he was having trouble breathing, he still made it to say ‘thank you.’"

They say Chris' desire to help extended to the other patients on the floor.

"Being a person who most people know who he is, he would meet people in the hallways and tell them, ‘hey you can stop by my room.’ He would tell us, ‘if you have patients who want to talk,’ that ‘they can come in any time and talk to me.’"

"I had many patients say ‘I'm following him on Facebook. I'm following him in this journey. And I'm going through what he just went through.’"

"Some people when they lose their hair, they don't even want to look in the mirror. And he just went full force. ‘Here's the reality of what is going on with me. And I'm going to take this and use it for somebody else.’"

Both assigned as Chris' primary nurse, they were there for the bright spots, like Chris' early remission and release from the hospital, and also for the darkest moments.

"He was very weak and was not able to get out of bed without having extra help,” said Loesch through tears. “And he just, he just broke down at some point and talked about how tired he was, and how it was hard to do it. But he just made it through every step and was finally like, ‘Please help me, how do I get through this?’ And he was able to just take things a step at a time. He can make it through sitting on the edge of the bed, he can make it to standing by the bedside commode. He can make it to stand up to give (his husband) Jason a hug when he walks into the room. So he was at this very low point, but he just in an instant said, ‘Ok, I'm going to sit up today. Tomorrow I'm going to stand up.’ And then he progressed from there."

"They were a unified spirit. With God, with each other, with their family, with their friends,” said hospital Chaplain Cathy Disher: "I often call it the hardest side of love, to love someone through this and beyond this."

She prayed with Chris and Jason, sharing in the comfort of their abiding faith.

"They clung deeply and lived deeply their faith, in this entire journey,” she said. “I'll remember that. I'll remember that."

"It makes my heart hurt for those kids,” said Dunnington. “And Jason. You see how many people die from this disease and you just wish there was something you could do."

They say Chris' legacy is one of courage, gratitude, and love.

"I'm just thankful that I got to witness that part of their relationship with their kids and with each other,” said Loesch."Just seeing how he was able to be thankful every day, every hour, every minute."

"He's made a lasting impression on me,” said Disher. “And I'm sure he has made a lasting impression on many, many countless people that look to him for encouragement, look to him for that perseverance and that same courage that it takes to face a disease like this. He's been a role model, and someone that I hope, their story will be told for a long time."

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