Oregon District fixture fighting back following devastating illness

Brad Darrell made a New Year's resolution many of us may take for granted: to walk again.

That’s no small feat, but the 39 year-old Oregon District fixture says he is working on it.

The fact that he could "say it" at all speaks to the work Darrell has put in since suffering a severe stroke nearly two years ago. 
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“My aortic valve collapsed. They had to replace it,” Brad explained in a slurred, but confident voice. “I had hemorrhaging on both sides of my brain.”

His journey started on a morning just like any other.

Brad, then the main piercer and longtime manager of Glenn Scott's Tattoo Team in the Oregon District, woke up at his home in Dayton's Belmont neighborhood to go to work.

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The day, as it turned out, was anything but typical. 

“I couldn’t get out of bed,” Brad said. “I couldn’t use my leg at all. I yelled for my roommate to call an ambulance.”

Before that day, Brad said he generally felt fine despite being a little ill a few days before.

“The day before it happened, I ran two miles,” he told me.

Brad woke up in the hospital a week later.

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“My voice had gotten better,” he said. “In the beginning, I  couldn’t speak at all.”

Glenn Scott closed his downtown shop in January 2017. He cited Brad’s illness among the reasons for the decision.

>> RELATED: New shop opens doors where Glenn Scott stood for nearly 20 years 

Brad was treated at Miami Valley before being taken to The Christ Hospital in Cincinnati. He has also received care from Atrium Medical Center in Middletown, where he is now staying with relatives.

He had an infection in his heart, the cause of which is not clear.

Brad was hospitalized five months.

“I was put in an infection control unit,” he said. “They want me to get rid of infection around my heart and get stronger before open heart surgery.”

For obvious reasons, much has changed for the Middletown High School graduate used to living independently.

He called the ordeal a “pride buster.”

He relies on the support of his friends, parents Vickey and Steve and younger brother Brett Darrell.

His friend Kristin Todd, a bartender at Tumbleweed Connection in the Oregon District, helped organize the all-day Brad Darrell Day in the Oregon District on March 25, 2016.

Nearly $30,000 was raised to support  Brad through donations and specials at Oregon District businesses.

Posters and stickers of Brad can still be seen around the district.

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Brad said he was grateful for all the support.

He said he has always strived to pay it forward and treat people the way he wanted to be treated.

“Whenever I saw someone who needed to be helped, I would help them,” he said.

Credit: Photo: Kristin Todd

Credit: Photo: Kristin Todd

Among other things, Darrell helped launch the Tumbleweed’s Critter and Car Wash for Charity more than five years ago.

The wet and soapy event started due to a bet Brad lost to his friend Troy Murrin.

As Kristin Todd explained, Brad told Troy he would wash his car in a bikini if Troy grew his beard out for six months.

Brad doesn’t know how long it will take him to recover from the health crisis, but he says he is working hard to do so.

He has regular rehab and is exercising more and is down 200 pounds from about 500 pounds.

The stroke taught him lessons more of us should resolve to remember.

“Don’t sweat the small stuff,” he said. “Don’t get mad at stuff. There is no point of it.”

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

Credit: Amelia Robinson

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