Cancer sufferer loves challenge

Archery gives brave teen a target

SVEN HERSELMAN
Last updated 09:11 21/07/2014
St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church
DEREK FLYNN/FAIRFAX NZ
GOOD TIMES: Braden Mason, 15, who suffers from a rare cancer that affects his spine and brain, gets some tips from Grovetown archery instructor Hamish Beard of Dartington Barn.

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Braden Mason, 15, has been wheelchair-bound for more than half his young life, but that hasn't stopped him from living it to the full.

The son of Blenheim residents Ray and Heather Mason suffers from a rare and untreatable cancer that affects his spine and brain. It has left him unable to walk since he was six years old.

Braden was given only six months to live by doctors after being diagnosed with cancer, but nine years on he is still living life to the fullest. His latest love is archery, a hobby he would love to get serious about as his wheelchair doesn't hinder him.

"I've always wanted to try it. Ever since I watched Robin Hood," Braden said.

Dartington Barn owner and archery instructor Hamish Beard has been helping Braden realise his dream, giving him free archery lessons since December last year.

Braden's strict regime and health care needs means he can't indulge in his new passion as often as he likes, and he relishes it when he does get a bow in hand.

The upbeat teenager had gained confidence and skill in archery under Beard's tutelage.

"It's great exercise for him as well. Hamish has been so great with him - he really looks forward to his lesson," mum Heather said.

On Sunday Braden confidently fired off a series of arrows from a recurve and long bow, regularly finding his mark.

"It's harder than it looks, but I really enjoy it. I would like my own bow and to do it as a sport," he said.

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- The Marlborough Express

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