ACTIVE LIFE: Youth uses training to help save grandfather

NANAIMO - Brayden Rattray uses junior lifeguard training to help save his grandfather's life.

Brayden Rattray’s junior lifeguard training helped save his grandfather’s life.

Last fall his grandfather, James, suffered a seizure during the night, but no one witnessed the event. In the morning Brayden, 13, realized something was wrong when his grandfather showed signs of what he thought was the result of a stroke.

James was wandering through the house repeating tasks he had done only minutes before, he was unbalance and his eyes were unfocused.

“He (Brayden) was able to detect it was a brain injury of some kind and said get an ambulance right away,” said Brayden’s grandmother, Joan Rattray.

Joan said it was a good thing the family called the ambulance because during his trip to the hospital  James suffered from another major seizure.

“If he wasn’t in the ambulance he could have fallen down and hurt himself,” said Joan.

Brayden said it’s important for everyone, no matter their age, to learn first aid because they never know when an emergency may arise. He said a person could just be walking along the street and someone only a few metres away might collapse and have a heart attack or some other accident and the skills may help save a life.

Brayden has been enrolled in the junior lifeguard program for four years and he has been steadily working his way through the training levels so he can become a lifeguard.

His swimming coach, Guy Yarmack, is one of his inspirations.

“My swimming teacher, he was an amazing … and helped me out a lot,” said Brayden.

“He is like a mentor,” added Joan.

Even though Brayden is only 13 he’s planning for the future. He wants to become a lifeguard because he loves helping people and swimming, but also so he can have a job and earn some money when he eventually attends university or college.

This is the first year Brayden is learning skills through the Leaders in Training program through parks, recreation and culture, although last year he completed the junior program. He said the LIT program gives him more duties and learning opportunities and feels more like a job than attending a summer camp. He still has fun, but likes the responsibility and trust he’s been given. It’s helping the youth build more self-confidence.

“It’s amazing to see how far I have come,” said Brayden.