FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – In his first season with the Wayne Generals, Orayne Bragg was on his way to becoming a future star on the Highlight Zone.

The freshman was one of the top players on the Generals’ junior varsity basketball team, averaging double figures in points and rebounds. By the end of the season, Bragg earned some varsity minutes while having a front-row seat to the program’s deepest postseason run since 1981.

Towards the end of the season, Bragg began feeling pain in his chest and legs. As a precaution, Bragg and his mother, Tanya, visited a doctor. After several exams, doctors confirmed something far worse than Orayne anticipated.


“I wasn’t thinking anything about cancer,” Orayne said. “I was more thinking about my birthday and what I was going to do. I ended up in the hospital having to hear all this news so soon.”

“We ended up going honestly not thinking it was going to be as serious as it was,” said Tanya. “We were blessed to walk into the ER and for that doctor to take the time to go further to get that diagnosis.”

Orayne celebrated his 15th birthday with his twin sister while being hospitalized earlier in April

Orayne was rushed to Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis to begin chemotherapy. He celebrated his 15th birthday with his twin sister sitting in a hospital bed. Time with close family was limited.

“I couldn’t see my family in the hospital,” Orayne recalled. “So it was just a long 15 days in the hospital with my mom and visitors. I appreciate it.”

Shortly after beginning treatments, Tanya revealed Orayne’s diagnosis on social media. Since then, the Bragg family has seen an outpouring of love and support.

Orayne’s AAU team with Optimum Performance Sports began fundraising for the Bragg family by offering One Family for Orayne Strong t-shirts. Proceeds from the fundraiser will help the Bragg family to pay for medical costs.

Orayne’s family and coaches describe the freshman as a quiet, goofy kid that usually keeps to himself. He admits he hasn’t been comfortable with the added attention over the last several weeks.

“I was really surprised. I didn’t think it’d get to be as big as it was,” Orayne said.

Those words of encouragement haven’t gone unnoticed to the rest of the Bragg family.

“It’s really nice to see that they want to help,” said Tanya. “We appreciate all the help, and we’re just overwhelmed by the love that we’re receiving.”

Orayne Bragg began chemotherapy treatments shortly after being diagnosed with leukemia in early April

Teammates and coaches regularly check in with Orayne. Greg Patterson, who’s coached Orayne since fourth grade, knows he has the mental fortitude to battle this illness.

“I’ve seen him overcome a lot, and he’s taken every challenge on head first,” Patterson said. “That’s probably what’s more impressive about him, is that he takes on all challenges.”

Last week, Wayne head boys basketball coach Byron Pickens saw Orayne for the first time since Bragg was diagnosed with leukemia. Nearly at a loss for words, Pickens admitted he felt better just seeing Orayne in person.

“Life isn’t fair,” said Pickens. “Sometimes when you think you’re supposed to be on varsity, or you’re supposed to be healthy, God may have another plan for you. It’s how you attack the day, and I think he’s doing a good job.”

Over the next several months, Orayne will undergo several rounds of chemotherapy. Those treatments aren’t stopping him from staying active. Weeks after his diagnosis, Bragg traveled to Indianapolis so he could play with his AAU basketball team. His minutes are limited, but Orayne wants to continue giving everything he has on the court.

“I keep being told push through stuff,” Orayne said. “It’s going to help. Make sure you’re not down. Keep yourself up all the time and stay active, even on days where you don’t want to. It always helps.”

As family, teammates and coaches support Orayne through his cancer battle, the young man will continue doing what he’s used to on a basketball court.

Keep fighting.