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St. Louis man builds elaborate LEGO displays to cope with health issues

"I really don’t know that I would have made it if I didn’t have this"

ST. LOUIS — Life can come at you in many ways and not all of them are good. It can be important to have a coping mechanism for the tough times. Brad Alsop copes by working with LEGOs.

“Never really grew out of it as a kid. It’s a passion.” he told 5 On Your Side.

He doesn’t go by the instructions on the box when he builds. Instead, he relies on his imagination.

“I’m forming it as I go,” he said.

Alsop likes to consider himself a master builder. He currently has two massive LEGO projects in his home. One is a medieval castle and village with hundreds of characters storming the gates with a dragon flying overhead. The other project features an outdoor concert venue.

“There’s about 100 or so people,” he said.

He also built a working electric guitar out of the LEGO bricks.

But unlike his LEGOs, Alsop’s health has not held together well.

“I started to have attacks of chronic pancreatitis. A very, very painful thing to go through,” he said.

The condition eventually got worse.

“One day the pancreas actually ruptured. It basically ate me alive from the inside out. I very, very easily should have died,” he said.

He would endure 10 surgeries as doctors worked to keep him alive by removing some of his organs.

“I’ve lost the pancreas, spleen, gall bladder, half the stomach, and half the bowel,” he explained.

LEGOs have given him an outlet and working with the bricks has been therapeutic.

“Really got me through a lot of the time at home,” he said.

Alsop continues to struggle with his health.

“It’s still a lot to deal with,” he said.

But he is holding up.

“I’m better than I’ve been for the last 20 years. I’ve actually started a job for the first time in nearly 10 years,” he said.

Alsop credits his millions of LEGO pieces for helping him to persevere.

“I really don’t know that I would have made it if I didn’t have this,” he said.

If you are interested in a LEGO guitar built by Brad Alsop, you can reach out to him at Brickguitars@hotmail.com.