Cairns singer takes his life-saving message on tour

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When Brad Carr, half of one of Cairns most popular musical duos – Carrizma - first began to feel unwell back in 2000 he thought it was probably a ‘gout problem’.

That ‘gout problem’ turned out to be kidney disease.

Diagnosed with IgA nephropathy (Berger’s Disease) and being told he’d need a kidney transplant in 15 to 20 years was quite a shock for the local singer, who in the early 90’s had put together a 4-piece band called ‘Carr’s Country’, which later became known as Carrizma.

‘It was total shock at first not knowing anything about kidney disease and thinking that I just had a gout problem! Everything changed after that,’ Brad said.

Waitlisted for a transplant in October 2019, Brad said life was very restrictive with daily routines of prepping, setting up and cleaning up the dialysis machines, and being careful with hygiene.

Brad and his wife Sandra were used to the fun and energy of living out their dream turning their singing ‘hobby’ into a profession.

They had played at a local tourist venue for two years, toured many clubs in Cairns and performed for Cruise ship passengers when they disembarked in Cairns.

They also held many dances which they used to raise funds for the Renal Unit at Cairns Hospital.

Now they were playing the waiting game.

Luckily for Brad the wait wasn’t too long, with a donated kidney saving his life just seven months later.

‘We were at home, I was just about to finish my overnight peritoneal dialysis when we got the call from my nephrologist that a kidney had been donated,’ Brad said.

‘They had to get the Royal Flying Doctors from Townsville to come to Cairns to fly me down there as there were no flights, buses or trains at the time due to COVID-19.

‘My first reaction when I got the call was Wow! Wow! Wow! Where do I start to organise things and who should I ring?’

Two years post-transplant and life is back to some sort of normality for Brad and Sandra with a tour of outback Queensland starting next month.

Brad said one of the most exciting things since transplantation had been getting back out and touring with their music to outback tourist parks, hotels and clubs.

‘And being able to share my story and encourage people to register with DonateLife,’ Brad said. ‘I’m very, very thankful to my donor and their family.’

Brad’s hospital buddy Wendy Lamb also sometimes joins the tour.

Both Brad and Wendy were in the kidney ward at the same time in Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital and became firm friends.

Registering as an organ and tissue donor only takes one minute.

You can register at or through the Express Plus Medicare app.

Fast facts:

  • Around 1,800 Australians are currently waitlisted for an organ transplant; and more than 13,000 Australians are currently on dialysis, many of whom would benefit from a kidney transplant.
  • There are more people alive in Australia today because of organ donation.
  • In 2021, 91 Queenslanders transformed the lives of 275 Australians through organ donation and many more benefited through tissue donation.
  • While the majority of Queenslanders support organ and tissue donation, only one in three are registered.
  • As of April 1, 2022 there are 1,374 Australians waiting for a kidney transplant.