John, 89 defies doctor's deadly forecast
FIVE months ago he was given two weeks to live but tomorrow John Brennan will take off on a wonderful adventure - and he's positive it won't be his last.
John Brennan, from Marburg, says he's nothing special but that's not the way his friends see him.
Lillian Gray, who contacted The QT about the 89-year-old, says he is "an amazing man who doesn't know why he's being kept alive".
"I think it's a nice story to encourage the elderly to keep going," Mrs Gray said.
Tomorrow, she and Pastor Pam Close will be with John Brennan when he goes on his first hot air balloon flight.
Mrs Gray offered it to Mr Brennan as a birthday present. He accepted but didn't want anyone paying for it.
However, with what would have been nine days to go in his life, the Yamanto Christian Outreach Centre held a memorial service for their beloved member.
"He just placed himself in God's hands. He was peaceful; there was no fear in his eyes," Mrs Gray said.
"When he heard the eulogy he said he had a lot to live up to."
Mr Brennan, who smiles a lot, tells the story of his life matter-of-factly but with a lively sense of wonder reflected in his eyes.
"It started up about two years ago; I'd never flown before and some friends were going down to Melbourne and I'd booked to go with them for a week and they said: 'You'd better get checked out by the doctor first'," he said.
"I went to the doctor and she put me straight into hospital with a diseased heart and fluid in my lungs.
"Last August my doctor told me my heart was only pumping a third of its capacity and my kidneys had packed up on me, more or less.
"He was a bit dubious about how long I had to live; he said if it persisted I didn't have long.
"He wanted to put me in hospital but I said: 'No, I want to die at home'."
Mr Brennan's outlook was: "If I had to die, I had to die. I wasn't worried about it; I'm still not worried about it."
He told Mrs Gray, who contacted the Pastor at the Yamanto Christian Outreach Centre and they had a memorial service for him.
Until two years ago his health was excellent - he still swims regularly - so he had organised to donate his body to medical science.
Going to his own memorial service didn't worry him a bit, he said. He credits it with turning his life back on a positive path.
"I went down the front and they laid hands on me and anointed me with oil and prayed for me and since that time I've improved," Mr Brennan said.
"The heart seems all right, the kidneys seem all right. I'm all right."
He puts that down to the healing, having a positive outlook and support from his church and friends at the Rosewood Community Centre.
"I went to the doctor yesterday and said I was a bit shaky in the legs and a bit light-headed and she said: 'That's just old age'," he joked.
Mr Brennan, who joked that he still hasn't flown, is approaching tomorrow's Floating Images balloon flight with typical calm.
"I've got to be up at a quarter to four in the morning so we can leave Limestone Park at 4.30am," he said with a playful wince.
"It's just something that happens. I'll take it as it comes.
"It's been cancelled twice because of the weather; the first time was last November."
The suggestion of parachuting as the next item to tick off his bucket list brings a laugh followed by: "Yeah, I could probably try that."
Mr Brennan retired from the Ford Motor Company in Geelong where he was a tool maker and moved to Queensland.
He lives in a unit in Shiloh Aged Care Facility in Marburg, looks after himself and still drives to Rosewood regularly.