The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Wisconsin woman raises awareness for bipolar disorder

It’s something no mother should have to endure: Watching her talented son suffer from bipolar disorder, eventually ending his life at age 30.

Jackie Bradley, a member of Midvale Lutheran Church, Madison, Wis., was not this young man’s mother, but a friend. Theirs may have seemed an unlikely friendship: Jay Lechler was in his 20s and Bradley in her late 60s when music brought them together. 

Jackie Bradley

Bradley decided late in life to follow her musical passions, recording several CDs of standards and original songs she plays on piano. Lechler was a Madison-area musician and producer. They became partners in recording Bradley’s music (www.jackiesmusic.net). She said Lechler “opened up the world of music” for her. 

Lechler’s death was devastating to Bradley, who had been working with him for nearly five years when he died in 2012. She is now on a mission to raise awareness surrounding bipolar disorder (see also page 16). She doesn’t want others to suffer like Lechler did or be left behind like his parents. To that end, Bradley recently released a CD titled Comet Boy. With help from singer/songwriter Beth Kille, Bradley wrote all the songs.

A tribute to Lechler, the songs reflect the journey after losing someone to suicide. Various Madison-area musicians perform on the recording. All proceeds will be donated to the Ryan Licht Sang Foundation for Bipolar Disorder.


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February issue


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