Braden's brush with death

Braden’s future was mapped out. He was looking forward to joining the navy. Going for a run one sunny evening, he didn’t notice the car behind him. The driver experienced some sun strike and drove straight into Braden.

In just seconds, Braden’s world had changed. He suffered two breaks to his lower left leg, a graze to his left arm, and a cut to his forehead where he hit the car’s windscreen. Braden didn’t panic. He said he, “felt calm.”

“I was focusing on what had happened and what would be best for me to do in this situation,” he says, “It wasn’t until later that I thought about my family, especially my mother. I was concerned about what she would be thinking, feeling. Mum encouraged me to apply for the navy and I knew this probably wouldn’t happen now.”

Thames locals, including St John, rallied to Braden’s side. When the Westpac Rescue Helicopter arrived, Braden says he was feeling the effects of the morphine. “I can remember a low humming noise and asking everyone why they were wearing helmets.”

Braden was flown to Waikato Hospital - a quick 23 minute flight away. Two months on, Braden says he’s looking forward to running again. “Just the simple fact that I will be able to run makes me enjoy the thought of it so much more,” he says. He has also had time to rethink his future and is now looking forward to studying architecture.

Apart from saving lives, Braden says rescue helicopter donors should look at “the bigger picture”.

“Accidents affect more than the person involved – my family, the people in the car and their family, my partner and her family, and the people who came to help me were all involved in some way. The Westpac Rescue Helicopter not only saves lives, it often saves others from heartache as well.”