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Support campaign to help student

Members of The Colony High School community have launched a fundraising campaign to help meet the needs of a paralyzed student and his family, and we believe the effort is worthy of widespread support.

Brian Bravo, a senior, is known for an infectious grin, a willingness to participate and a dedication to sports, his teachers and classmates tell us. But eight years after a devastating car accident left him paralyzed and unable to speak, Bravo’s final months of high school are fast approaching, and faculty and staff are hoping to help his father deal with everyday needs including the purchase of a wheelchair-accessible van.

“We would like to have enough funds to provide Brian with the ultimate graduation send-off, and the van would help,” basketball coach Steve Ryan said.

Fundamental life skills teacher Kristen Crenshaw, who works with Bravo at school, said she believes campaign supporters can be a lifeline for the young man.

“I don’t think people really knew much until now, but Brian has the mentality of any 21-year-old,” Crenshaw said. “He understands and, while unable to do much for himself, his brain is functional and needs stimulation with peers.”

Brian Bravo was 13 years old and on the way home from a family vacation in Mexico in the summer of 2005 when he was critically injured in an accident that took the lives of his mother, uncle and sister and hurt two other family members.

Brian’s father, Jose Bravo, who was not on the trip because of work commitments, was finally able to bring his son back to Texas, where he was treated at two area hospitals and then placed in a rehabilitation facility for several months.

Brian Bravo eventually returned to school after his father learned from a nurse that programs were available to help his son. When Brian needs to be transported, his father scoops him up, puts him in the car, then takes apart the wheelchair and puts it into the trunk of the family’s old car.

Now 21, Brian Bravo is able to communicate by blinking. His story is finally starting to come out as Ryan and Crenshaw have gotten involved in the family’s life.

In an effort to help, double-sided bracelets with the words “Bravo4Brian” and “Cougar Nation” are being sold for $2 to $5. Bracelets are currently being sold only at the high school, but there are plans for the items to be available throughout the Lewisville school district.

Ryan is also leading a donation drive, and a local church has set up an account to accept donations. All money raised goes directly to the Bravo family.

With Brian Bravo’s graduation nearing, Crenshaw said she is now working on finding a day program he can attend.

Anyone who would like to help with the effort can contact Ryan at 469-948-2586 or or Crenshaw at Calvary Christian Center has set up an account for Brian Bravo at Click “give online” and add memo “BRAVO4BRIAN.” Checks or money orders can be mailed to: Calvary Christian Center, Attn: Bravo4Brian, 5220 Blair Oaks Drive, The Colony, TX 75056.

Brian Bravo obviously has a lot of friends in The Colony High School community, and we commend them for organizing the fundraising campaign.

And we urge others to join the effort — this courageous young man and his family deserve our help.