Issue 94

Cover Story, Brady Thrasher, full-time sales representative for RE/MAX Preferred Realty Ltd., pg. 10. Story by D.J. Telfer and photos by Trevor Booth. Photo location Canadian Club Brand Centre.

Who Is Brady Thrasher?

In 2011, the then 24 year old Brady succeeded in attaining his childhood goal. He passed his real estate exam and became a full-time sales representative for RE/MAX Preferred Realty Ltd.

He entered the office lobby, his arms stuffed with papers and brochures. At the same time he was precariously balancing two large ice cappuccinos, one in the hand he was opening the door with, the other on top of the bundle of papers tucked under his chin. He maneuvered through the doors without dropping or spilling anything and immediately walked over to greet me.

“Hi I’m Brady,” he said with a very cordial smile but instead of a handshake he handed me one of the drinks.

“I hope you like it” he offered, the smile never leaving his face, “Ice cappuccino with chocolate milk, it’s absolutely the best!”

Nice. However what was even more impressive than this young man’s maneuverability or this cold tasty beverage on a hot afternoon was that he was there right on time.

“Really? You were going to leave?” he said with surprise when I mentioned I was already thinking about rescheduling (leaving) if he was going to be late.

“I know how important it is to be on time for appointments,” he said seriously and added, “I think it is disrespectful to be late.”

Good. He is obviously considerate of people and their time; he appears courteous, generous and he exudes a warm and inviting personality. Those are the first impressions, now it is just a question of trying to figure out who this tall gregarious young man really is - who is Brady Thrasher?

He grew up in a large extended family (his grandfather had 16 siblings) and he grew up helping with the family car business - Thrasher Sales & Leasing Ltd. in Amherstburg.

These were priceless times for young Brady. Some of his fondest memories are recollections of spending time at the dealership. He was just 12 years old when he started helping out. The work wasn’t always easy or clean but he learned a lot and Brady is a sponge for learning. Most of all he loved learning about the business and working alongside his brother, uncle and his grandfather. Brady had a very close and nurturing relationship with his grandfather who was always there to teach the boy...and as much as he loved his grandfather, his love for his father remains unequaled.

Pat Thrasher was a kind, optimistic man despite being burdened with Multiple Sclerosis. He was a man of prominence and highly involved in his community; Pat was voted The Town of Amherstburg’s “Citizen of the Year” in 1999. He remains a hero in Brady’s eyes and his greatest inspiration.

Pat was always proactive in his fight against MS. In 1989 he became president and chairmen of the Windsor/Essex Multiple Sclerosis Society and in 1992 he started the Windsor/Essex Super Cities Walk for M.S.

Brady wanted to participate in the walk with his father. He was still just eight years old but he wanted to contribute to the cause so he stated knocking on doors and getting pledges. That first year Brady raised $200. After that every year he raised a little more than the year before and in his best year before highschool he raised nearly $2000.

It was certainly heartwarming for Pat to see the love and support his family never wavered from, to see his children want to offer their time to help not just him but all who face like illnesses and diseases. Brady’s sister Lindsay took up the torch with passion. She became a public speaker and worked passionately to bring more awareness for M.S. For her unselfish dedication she too would be honoured as Amherstburg’s “Citizen of the Year” in 2002.

Sadly, before that day would come and by the time Brady was in highschool, Pat Thrasher had been diagnosed with cancer. He died at age 46 when Brady was just 15.

“He died on his birthday,” said Brady. “Our family found solace in knowing his short yet meaningful life had come full circle.”

Soon after and with his sister’s strong encouragement, Brady (reluctantly at first) began public speaking. Talking to his peers and schoolmates, talking about MS and cancer. Opening himself up to his own sadness and loss while recognizing he is not alone. Cancer in all its forms affects so many.

Speaking before a crowded audience in the school gym Brady asked the question: “how many people have been affected by cancer.”

“Everybody put their hands up!” he said.

The response resonated deeply with Brady. It surprised him seeing that so many others experienced what he and his family endured and it inspired him to want to reach out to more people.

Following his father’s example of being community minded and involved, Brady launched his own campaign to carry on with Pat’s legacy and his fight against M.S.

Brady wanted to create something that was readily identifiable with the cause but was also a statement of hope and perseverance. Something that metaphorically reflects the mutual strength found from knowing many others are equally affected and share similar feelings.

“The common link is that cancer affects everyone,” he said, “we’re all affected and that gave me the idea. I started a business called “Affected Campaign” We bought T-shirts and printed the word “Affected” and sold them for $20 - six dollars from every sale is designated to a charity.”

“This is not just a clothing line but a social movement” Brady said. “Affected puts us all on an equal playing field, it shows that we’re not judged by one another. It brings us together and lets us brand ourselves in a positive way.”

Brady views it as being all about branding and promoting, lessons learned from his years spent working at Thrasher Sales & Leasing Ltd.

These experiences helped him develop a genuine passion and knack for business. The learning came natural and he soaked it up in true sponge-like fashion but although he spent 10 years working at an automobile dealership his ultimate personal goals were sighted at the world of commercial enterprises, specifically real estate.

“Getting into real estate is what I have wanted to do for as long as I can remember,” he said. “My mother worker for RE/MAX years ago and there were many times when I tagged along with her to open houses and appraisals. It just had a special fascination to me, I knew almost from the very first time I went to a listing with my mom that this is what I wanted to do. I was so eager I wrote my first real estate exam when I was 18 years old.” He paused then added with a coy smile, “but I failed.”

This was not a deterrent to Brady. It just motivated him to work harder even though he was still public speaking and starting to promote larger public fund raising events as well as after parties.

Meanwhile he was getting ready for college and continuing to build his ‘Affected’ business with a lot of help from the people he was meeting along the way.

“Networking and connections are the keys to branding and promoting.” Brady said. “I have built a strong network through my public speaking and organizing events and especially through social media.”

At age 20, Brady quit college to dedicate his full time to the Affected Campaign. Continuing his father’s enduring legacy is still foremost in Brady’s mind. Besides, in many ways he had already attained more experience and knowledge than a three year college program could offer. He saw his future personal success as well as of that of his charitable campaign depended more on his own acquired and natural abilities and with his ability to network and stay connected with, ...the world! He knows that by using on-line technology (more advanced today than what was available to his father) enables him to reach out much further and to so many more people than anyone would have imagined 20 years ago.

“I have met a lot of generous and influential people.” he continued. “People who support the “Affected” movement and continue to help in the fight against cancer and M.S. I consider Detroit rapper, Big Sean a personal friend. His support has been immeasurable and he has helped me connect with others and with the more contacts I have made I have been able to stage bigger events with support from performers like Drake and Def Jamb.”

Brady was also able to get recognition from the Ellen DeGeneres show, had his picture taken with Justin Trudeau and pitched his “Affected” business plan to the ‘dragons’ on the CBC television series: The Dragon’s Den.

“No, they didn’t go for it,” Brady shook his head with a sheepish grin, “the segment never aired they said it wasn’t profitable.”

But it is not about profitability. For Brady it is about recognition, awareness and the fight against cancer. Certainly his father would have been so proud of his son’s dedication and accomplishments. He would have been equally thrilled to see Brady voted Citizen Of The Year for Amherstburg in 2007 just as his sister and as he had been regarded for their voluntary and committed service to the community.

In 2011, the then 24 year old Brady succeeded in attaining his childhood goal. He passed his real estate exam and became a fulltime sales representative for RE/MAX Preferred Realty Ltd.

“I always knew I would get here,” he said “Now my goals are to be a top producer and continue to work harder than my competition while always branding myself in a positive way. I am going to rely on my networking capabilities to build my business while providing my clients with dedicated service. This is not a job to me, this is my dream.”

Today, 27 year old Brady is happily married to Jessica who comes from an even larger extended family and the couple have with one child - so far. His life appears as full as his often-times paper-laden arms and he is still maneuvering around whatever obstacles are in his way. His cup is full and his life seems metaphorically speaking as tasty as one of these ice cappuccinos with chocolate milk. But to the question: who is Brady Thrasher? The answer lies with all those who have met this ambitious yet conscientious young man; with everyone he has connected and with all those affected by his dedication to carry his father’s legacy forward - in his own fashion. He continues to raise money to find a cure for cancer and to try to better the lives of those who suffer from Multiple Sclerosis and other debilitating illnesses and disease. He always looks forward to helping out his brother Wes who organizes the annual Pat Thrasher Golf memorial in honour of their late father.

Sure, it might seem that with a family of his own; with a demanding job; with his charitable work and his endless on-line networking and connecting Brady has barely time to sleep but like balancing a bundle of papers and cold drinks while opening a door he just has a knack of holding it all together. He thrives on the challenges - in life as well as in his career - and never has to wander far from the thoughts of his father to be able to find inspiration and motivation.

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