Bronson Harrison draws strength from mum's fortitude

Christine Gwynne with son Bronson Harrison.
Christine Gwynne with son Bronson Harrison.


Bronson Harrison reckons it was just $20 at a time.

That was all his mum could stash away to help with the school fees when they arrived from Holy Cross College in Sydney's inner west.

Christine Gwynne recalls when her son was hit by a car and then told he would never run again.

Just eighteen months later, he defied medial opinion. Also there were bouts of childhood meningitis.

"It took about 18 months for him because his hip had calcified, to get it working again," Gwynne said of Harrison's accident.

Bronson Harrison is wrapped up by the Bulldogs defence.  Picture: GETTY IMAGES

Bronson Harrison is wrapped up by the Bulldogs defence. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

"He's also had a couple of bouts of meningitis but his quiet determination - he's so resilient - got him through life. He's a very kind, caring boy and very respectful."

They're traits he no doubt gleaned from his mother. After working in aged care to support the four children under her roof, Gwynne joked that, at 40 years of age, she finally "found her brain".

Study followed, which led to placement and employment at a women's refuge.

Her children are all grown up but she still cares for others - as a case management support worker with the disabled.

Accident and disease have been conquered, which is why it's not hard to guess where Harrison's gaze will be directed when he runs out for the Mothers Day clash with the Bulldogs.

"From about [when I was] nine years old, she was a single parent," the St George Illawarra back-rower said.

"She had four kids, rent, everything ... and she was a stay-at-home mum at the time.

"Her first job wasn't too flash and she got in there and was only earning about $20,000 a year. We never knew but we had a great childhood."

That childhood included housing up to six kids at any one time.

Harrison, the third eldest of four kids, was joined by two of brother Cheyne's mates and a cousin from Perth as they found a home in the nest at Five Dock.

His mum welcomed them with open arms.

The kids had a blast in an area he's quick to point out was good but nowhere near as exclusive as it is now.

"She really did her best to make sure we had the best of what we could afford," Harrison said.

"The hardest thing for her was when we made rep teams. It would cost her an extra $150 and we had to raise money.

"My younger sister probably didn't get to play as much sport as mum was running around for us."

Gwynne still does to this today, even loading into the car every fortnight to head down to Canberra to watch Harrison while he was the Raiders' ironman.

It's what you do for a son who shouldn't be running, let alone nearing his 200th NRL game with 12 Test appearances to boot.

"I know my mum's there," Harrison said, when quizzed on who heads his support crew on game day.

"She's raised me to be the best person I can be and I try to do that throughout my life."

As for giving back? He tried but it's hard to stop his mother from caring for and giving to others.

"There's no point giving mum any money ... she usually spends it on the grandkids so I actually have to pay for things," Harrison joked. "She's a very giving person so I try to find ways where I can give directly to her.

"That's the hard thing because she never asks for anything."


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