Each year since 2014, BraunAbility and Ally have come together to donate a wheelchair accessible van to a school-aged individual with mobility needs. An assembly is held and the importance of mobility freedom is emphasized before the family is surprised with their van donation.
Bravo for Brian
Brian Bravo was a high school senior at The Colony High School in Dallas, Texas. At the time of the donation, it had been eight years since he was involved in a car accident that killed his mother, his uncle, and his sister. Brian survived but was left with severe brain damage and paralysis. His father, Jose, is Brian’s caregiver and was tasked with lifting his son in and out of the old sedan they owned – a task that was carried out frequently, since The Colony High School boys’ basketball team ‘adopted’ Brian as an assistant coach and he attended every game and practice.
Seeing Jose struggled to transport his son inspired the community to get involved. Through fundraising, they were able to secure over $30,000 for the family to purchase a wheelchair accessible van. That’s when Ally and BraunAbility stepped in and donated a van so the family could use the money for the expenses of insuring and operating it over the life of the vehicle.
Travis is a fourth-grader from Crossroads Elementary School in Mount Washington, Kentucky. Teresa, a teacher at Crossroads, said the school started fundraising to help the family afford a down payment on a van. Travis’ mom and her boyfriend were transferring her 130-pound son in and out of his wheelchair at least twice every weekday so Travis could get out of the house and go to school.
Travis has a difficult time speaking because of his cerebral palsy, but one recognizable phrase is “Go Blue!” – a cheer he often says when watching his favorite team, the University of Kentucky, play on TV.
To sweeten the donation, BraunAbility chose a True Blue Dodge Side-Entry van to match the color of his favorite team. The van would save Travis’ mom’s back by eliminating physical transfers and keep him coming to school or going to see his extended family.
Lain McDonald never missed a football practice or game. An honorary team member, Lain would watch the players run the field from his position in his power chair on the sidelines. He was loved in the school, so much so that everyone was ready to help with the surprise van donation.
The plan was to stop the school’s fall Friday night game at halftime and invite Lain and his family to the center of the field. Powerful thunderstorms prevented the presentation, but everyone crowded into the gymnasium bleachers, spirits hardly dampened.
A football player was interviewed about the donation and said, “Lain really deserves something like this because he really cares about everybody that he knows. And I think this was just something to show that we’re always here for him and we really care about him.”
Now, with his new BraunAbility van, Lain won’t have to ever miss a practice and he and his family can stay active in the community that they call family.