EVER BRAVE: Braedon Hensel's last innings played with usual style

IT was just as Braedon Hensel had hoped.

After three years of facing every bouncer life could throw at him in his battle with cancer, the young St Patrick’s cricketer retired peacefully to the big pavilion in the sky on his terms.

A gentle smile broke out across Braedon’s face yesterday morning as he took his final breaths surrounded by family at their Thurgoona home.

“Braedon never asked for much or complained about anything but he wanted to die at home,” his father Neville said yesterday.

“Michelle and I slept on a mattress on the floor near his bed and we had some great yarns during the night.

“Rhys and Carla came in at 3.30am when he didn’t sound too good and, although he had his eyes shut and struggled to breathe at times, he would come out with these quotes out of the blue.

“That happened until an hour before he died.

“Banjo (the pet dog) was there to give Braedon a lick on the cheek as well.

“It was just how he wanted to go.”

Braedon, who was diagnosed with a sarcoma in the neck in early 2011, spent his final days living life to the fullest with a mate never far away.

"He just showed us that there are a lot of problems in the world that aren’t really problems."

Heath Naughton, St Patrick's Captain

The 22-year-old had been a regular to Thurgoona football and netball in recent weeks and, armed with an oxygen tank, made the trek up the Olympic Way last weekend to watch the Henty and Culcairn match at Henty.

“Even though he was doing it tough he wanted to go to the footy to see his mates,” Neville said.

“Braedon was like that.

“He was out at the huddles and getting around as much as he could.

“It was never about him though.”

As Braedon’s condition deteriorated this week, the well-wishers overwhelmed the Hensel family with about 75 people visiting the family home on Tuesday followed by another 50 on Wednesday.

St Patrick’s captain Heath Naughton was one of them.

“Braedon taught us so much about life,” Naughton said.

“The world has lost a great person.

“I think he just showed us that there are a lot of problems in the world that aren’t really problems.

“He loved his family and loved his mates and what else can you ask for in life?

“We’re all better people for being mates with Braedon Hensel.”

Braedon’s funeral will be held at Albury’s Sacred Heart Church at 1pm on Wednesday.