Grayham’s lust for life after successful lung transplant
Every day Grayham Bickley rejoices he is alive and every day he thanks the unknown man whose two lungs saved his life.
Twelve years ago Grayham (70) of Peregian Springs was told he had six weeks to live. His pulmonary fibrosis disease was now critical and he needed a double lung transplant.
"Luckily, a donor was found and I was rushed to the Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane. I was 58 when I was given this gift of life and I promised myself I was going to try and make every moment mean something."
Since then Grayham has developed considerable talents. He is an accomplished wildlife photographer, an author, a malt whisky buff, a painter, a poet, and only last year retired as a consultant for lightning protection on major buildings.
He has reluctantly just given up driving his 1979 Ford Escort in motor sport events like the Noosa Hill Climb and Queensland Raceway and is also a life member of the Noosa Beach Classic Car Club.
"I'm pretty much aware of my fragility," he told Seniors. "It's very good if patients in terms of longevity live 18 years. Some people who were transplanted after me have died."
During his earlier life in Sydney, Grayham was a radio announcer, theatre, tv soaps and film actor and counts among his credits working with director Bruce Beresford.
"Until the operation I hadn't written much, just a few short scripts for the theatre but while I was lying awake in the hospital bed lines of poetry kept going through my head. It got to the stage where I had to write them down."
Since then his poems and short stories have been published in anthologies and he is working on a crime novel set in Brisbane which he will e-publish on Kindle.
Grayham is Laird of the Noosa Malt Whisky Society. He's on long-term antibiotics but stoutly maintains "a couple of sniffs of single malt can't do any harm."
He is a skilled wildlife photographer, specialising in birds. "I have really embraced nature. I used to be a keen fisherman. Now, I value life so much I can't kill a fish or even a cane toad!"
He has no idea who the donor was. "I would like to know as I'm aware that some families who have met have really got something out of it."