Terminal cancer won't stop our number one apprentice
HAVING a terminal illness hasn't stopped Toowoomba boilermaker Braden Lang from getting out and living his life the way he wants - it's only made him more determined.
When he was 14, the now 23-year-old had a melanoma on his forearm.
That went away for eight years and came back about halfway through last year under his arm-pit as a tumour in his lymph nodes.
Doctors found another tumour in his left lung and he had to undergo radiation treatment before finding out five days before Christmas that he was terminally ill.
Braden said without any treatment, he was given six months to live.
So he was put on a mixture of two drugs, Dabrafenib and Trametinib, which were part of a trial study.
However, they stopped working after six months, so now he's taking a new drug Pembrolizumab.
"This new drug I'm on they hope it can give me two extra years. Hopefully if I make it to 25 I'll be happy," he said.
"It doesn't bother me because it is what it is and you can sit there and cry about it or get out and do what you want to do.
"Not the most ideal lifestyle but, hey, some of us have to draw the short straw."
Braden isn't letting the diagnosis get him down and is committed to living his life to the fullest.
"It's made me actually more determined to do what I want to get done because I know I'm only here for a finite amount of time," he said.
"As an illness it hasn't really stopped me doing a lot of things - I do have less energy, but the stigma all terminally ill people are all sick and all in nursing homes or care is something that isn't true."
After completing his apprenticeship through James Fab and The Apprenticeship Company he was named the winner of the Harry Hauenschild Apprentice of the Year 2015 at Darling Downs South West Regional heat of the Queensland Training Awards.
He will now head to the state titles in September and, if successful there, head to the national titles at the end of the year.
"I was just happy to make the top five and when they called my name out as the winner I was just absolutely thrilled and stoked and very humbled that out of everyone they picked me for the honour of representing south west Darling Downs," he said.
He said he had worked for James Fab for about three years.
"These guys have gone up and beyond what I would ever expect from an employer," he said.
Braden also has a bucket list he is in the process of completing.
"At the start of this year James Fab raised quite a large amount of money for me to go over to America with because it's been my dream to go to America," he said.
He said he spent three weeks in the USA and visited Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York, San Francisco and Minneapolis - which was particularly special as he visited a friend's memorial site.
"It was one of the main reasons I went to America," he said.
But most of the stuff on his bucket list, he said, was motorbike related.
"I want to do the Isle of Man (Isle of Man TT race) one day. It's a two-week race on an island off the coast of England. They shut it down for two weeks and it's just all one way," he said.
"I'm also in the process of seeing if there's a Guinness World Record for quickest terminally ill person under 25 on a motorbike."
He said he also jumped in a mate's car and skidded down the back straight of the Queensland Raceway.
"Just stuff like that that may not mean a lot to other people but means the world sort of thing (to me), and I'm happy that I got to tick a lot of that stuff off in the last year."