Par­ents’ trib­ute to lov­ing teen

Rotorua Daily Post - - Front Page -

to Aus­tralia to see his grand­fa­ther be­fore Christ­mas.

He spent sum­mer in his favourite place, Rus­sell, in North­land, spend­ing 40 days with fam­ily, fish­ing and div­ing.

“He slayed fish, he caught fish ev­ery day,” Wood said.

He would joke his can­cer treat­ment had left him a teenager in the body of an 80-year-old. But he still got up at 5am each sum­mer day to go fish­ing. Rus­sell will be Bray­den’s fi­nal rest­ing place.

He yearned to be back on the rugby field so would act as a per­sonal trainer for his Un­cle Craig, ex­er­cis­ing in what­ever way he could.

“That kid just wanted to keep go­ing,” Wood said.

Af­ter the best sum­mer, Bray­den re­turned to Para­pa­raumu with his fa­ther and his part­ner and went to school.

He was proud of his hair, which had grown back curly, and ex­cited to fi­nally get back to school.

Last year, a Givealit­tle page was set up to fund Sa­tivex, a drug that costs $1000 a month. Wood said it had given Bray­den strength and helped him re­cover from his chemo­ther­apy.

It did a great job help­ing with the pain and neg­a­tive side ef­fects of the treat­ment he had had.

De­spite “hor­ri­ble stuff hap­pen­ing to him” through his treat­ment, he al­ways had a smile, and al­ways thanked the nurses, de­spite the pain he was in, Wood said.

“That’s just Boo. Ev­ery­one who knew him, loved him,” both par­ents said.

Wood had been vis­it­ing Bray­den at the hospi­tal for four days when Bray­den started hav­ing breath­ing dif­fi­cul­ties, “like he was con­tin­u­ally run­ning a marathon”.

“He put up one hell of a fight.” He was still con­scious and co­her­ent, de­spite the amount of oxy­gen he re­ceived usu­ally mak­ing peo­ple in­co­her­ent.

“He had his white­board and he was still com­mu­ni­cat­ing, he was smil­ing. He was squeez­ing my hand so hard it was like he was go­ing to break my hand.

“He was telling ev­ery­one how much he loved them,” Wood said through tears.

He held both his par­ents’ hands, look­ing at them, and let them know he was okay.

Bray­den died in Wood’s arms, his body un­able to han­dle what it had been through for the last 18 months. His ser­vice was held at Os­borne Fu­neral Home last week.

“The doc­tors did ev­ery­thing they could . . . His body was dy­ing around him.”

Wood said it was as though Bray­den’s new im­mune sys­tem was be­gin­ning to kick in, which in­flamed the tis­sue in his lungs.

It was de­scribed to him as pneu­mo­nia com­bined with an in­fec­tion that did not al­low oxy­gen to get into his blood­stream and other or­gans.

A Star­ship Chil­dren’s Health spokeswoma­n said the na­ture of acute lym­phoblas­tic leukemia and the as­so­ci­ated re­quired ther­apy could be un­pre­dictable.

“We have great sym­pa­thy for the fam­ily of Bray­den Wood and send them our con­do­lences.”

Wood later found a voice­mail Bray­den had left, talk­ing about how ter­ri­fied he was and how much he wanted to keep liv­ing his nor­mal life.

“As brave as he was, he was scared.

“He talked about it but never re­ally showed how scared he was. He just put on a brave face and made sure ev­ery­body else was okay.

“That’s just Boo.”


Bray­den Wood dur­ing his JAB Rugby days, play­ing for Whakare­warewa. The last fish Bray­den Wood, 17, caught in Rus­sell over the sum­mer. On an early hunt­ing trip with his fa­ther, Bray­den Wood was adamant he would carry the antlers. Bray­den Wood lost an 18-month bat­tle with leukaemia.

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