We all know that the Penn State philanthropic spirit can easily affect those around us who may have not attended Penn State. That spirit left a lasting impression on friends of alumnus Brandon Lyons, who recently suffered a tragedy of his own.
Lyons, a 2013 graduate, was paralyzed from the waist down after jumping from a pier into shallow water in Ocean City, Md., over Memorial Day Weekend. During his time at Penn State, he was a dancer in THON 2013 and former member of the Club Lacrosse team. A supply chain and information systems graduate, the 23-year old Lyons currently works for Ernst & Young in Washington, D.C. as a performance improvement/supply chain consultant.
To help Lyons in the aftermath of the accident, a group of his friends from high school started a GiveForward page affectionately called “Bucks for Brandon” for him on Thursday as a fundraiser to help Brandon and his family pay for medical expenses and recovery costs.
The fundraiser, started by Brandon’s best friend who followed him through college, Kristina Bonafede, originally had a goal of $32,000, since 32 was his lacrosse number. The page has seen overwhelming support so far, with donations already exceeding that original goal over the weekend, causing Bonafede to raise the goal to a loftier $100,000. The $100,000 now signifies Lyons’ quest for a 100 percent recovery.
Lyons is still himself after the accident.
“Although he had a tragic injury he has not changed a single bit. He is the same guy he was before, he still jokes around, still laughs and still has such a positive outlook on life,” Bonafede said. “It is one of the most inspiring things to listen to him talk about his future plans. He has already been talking about competing in the Paralympics and is 100 percent determined in proving the doctors wrong.”
His friends also plan on selling bracelets marked with #IRONLYONS, a play on the football team’s weightlifting slogan, in return for a donation of $20 or more.