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Friends, family honour Brayden Ross at Relay for Life

Team Brayden took part in the Relay for Life to honour Brayden Ross, who died in July 2018. From left are Katelyn Dunn, Jaime Pike, Jessica Dunlevy, Melissa Robertson and Lior Goldchtaub. KEVIN ADSHADE/THE NEWS
Team Brayden took part in the Relay for Life to honour Brayden Ross, who died in July 2018. From left are Katelyn Dunn, Jaime Pike, Jessica Dunlevy, Melissa Robertson and Lior Goldchtaub. KEVIN ADSHADE/THE NEWS - Kevin Adshade
NEW GLASGOW, N.S. —

NEW GLASGOW, N.S. – It wasn’t supposed to go the way it did – Brayden Ross never thought for a moment he wouldn’t win the fight. 
“He was a true hero – he was always optimistic and never gave up hope that he would come out on the other end, that he was stronger than cancer,” said his mother, Marie Ross. 
“He looked at it as a marathon, not a sprint – it wasn’t going to be a quick fix, but he would get there.”
Brayden died on July 16, 2018, after a six-month fight with acute myeloid leukemia, a rare and aggressive disease. He left behind his parents, Mark and Marie, and younger brothers Cole and Ryan.
On June 9, family and friends took part in the Relay for Life on the rugby field at North Nova Education Centre, where Ross had played high school rugby before he found himself with an adversary bigger than anything he could encounter on the rugby pitch.
Three rounds of chemotherapy got him into remission, but “we knew the cancer would come back if he didn’t have that,” she added. 
A stem cell transplant failed, and he passed away at age 18 before another could be attempted.
Some days are tough, “but we come here and we know that we’re honouring him, and that makes things OK,” Marie said.
“He just loved life, and spending time with his girlfriend and his friends – he called them the boys.”
After his diagnosis, Melissa Robertson took her second semester off from StFX University. 
She had known Brayden since they were in their early teens and they had dated throughout high school.
“Getting his diagnosis was definitely tough and watching him go through his treatment, and all the things he had to go through – it was hard to watch, caring about him so much,” she said.
“(But) I was really inspired to see how well – and how courageously – he handled his battle.”
“It’s definitely made me a lot stronger going through all that, especially at a young age. I was just there for him and I’m very glad I did that, I was able to be there for him and help him as much as I could.” 
Both Ross and Robertson said Brayden was very grateful for the support he received from the community as he underwent treatment.
“When Brayden was sick, he often talked about wanting to give back to other families who were going through the same things that ours were,” his mom said. “So, we’re just trying to carry on his wish of doing that.”
Approximately 200 people took part in Relay for Life on June 9 in New Glasgow. They combined to raise $58,437.

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