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If there's anything that makes Nathan Bragg cringe, it's what he calls, "The 'I' Word."
"To be honoured as a difference maker is great, but to be honest I don't feel I've done that much," he says. Easter Seals Camps since he was six years old, Bragg became an official ambassador for the charity in 2009. Last year, Bragg raised more than Gucci Belt Men 2017
By any metric, Bragg is an exceptional human being. Thanks to his 92 per cent average in his Grade 12 classes at Maple Ridge Secondary School, he recently landed a $12,000 scholarship to attend Carleton University's journalism program this September.
Bragg was born with cerebral palsy, and though he suffers no mental impediment, he struggles to control his limbs and his movements are spastic. While he can walk for short distances with some difficulty, much of his life is spent in the seat of his wheelchair.
That aggression is apparent on Bragg's aluminum rugby wheelchair, which is so beaten and battered, it looks as though it might fall to pieces the next hit it takes.
The chair is built out of spare parts and a secondhand frame jerry rigged together with the help of his dad, John.
Bragg was chosen to take part in the Rick Hansen Man in Motion 25th Anniversary Relay this Wednesday as the medal bearer representing Maple Ridge when the relay rolls through town. For Bragg, it's both an honour and surprise to be taking part.
Wheelchair rugby gave him a constructive outlet for his aggression, he says.
Due to mobility issues in his arms, Bragg has difficulty shooting the ball. But Bragg soon discovered the sport of wheelchair rugby, which he says is better suited to his abilities. He fell in love with the sport after watching the 2005 documentary Murderball, which chronicles the rivalry between the Canadian and American wheelchair rugby teams ahead of the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece.
"I was never the fastest player on the court, but I always knew where I had to be," he says.
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For Bragg, it was Rick Hansen himself who helped show him that just because he was in a wheelchair, it didn't mean he couldn't do great things.
And like Hansen, Bragg is an athlete. junior team. Wheelchair Basketball Society Junior Athlete of the Year.
"I'm a little guy, but when I get in that chair and when I get on the court, that feeling disappears," he says.
But Bragg doesn't see himself as inspirational, though others certainly do. He's just another 18 year old kid, trying to find his way, and doing the best he can.
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"There's a lot more to me than my wheelchair," he says. "I don't focus on what I can't do. Neither should anyone else."
The sport requires less fine motor skills that wheelchair basketball, and a lot more aggression, something Bragg appreciates.
"He showed the world that," he says. "He's been so important to so many peoples lives."
His athletic accomplishments are long, having made the roster for two provincial sports teams, and competing in the Canada Winter Games last year in Halifax.
"Inspirational," he says, rolling his eyes. "It's the one word I can't stand."
at the annual Easter Seals 24 Hour Relay, allowing 11 campers to have the opportunity to go to camp.
While he says his condition doesn't define him, he doesn't deny that it is a huge part of his identity.
frustrations got the better of him at times.
Bragg is hoping to build a new $5,000 custom rugby wheelchair with the help of a $2,700 grant from the Challenged Athletes Foundation.
"I knew about it before I saw the movie, but seeing that made we want to play," he says.
Bragg also help found the Langley Gold Rush wheelchair basketball team, which he currently coaches.
Life in a wheelchair can be fraught with frustration, and when Bragg first entered high school, those Gucci Belts For Women
An inspiration without the 'I'
"I was an angry kid," he admits. "Kids can be cruel, and sometimes I overreacted."
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