Bracelets for Grayson
Thalia Rodriguez wiped away tears as she thought about her friend who just three weeks ago was joking around with friends in the hallways of West Caldwell High but now is at Levine Children's Hospital struggling to talk, eat and walk.
"I just hope he remembers us," she said. "I'm blessed a lot to have him as a friend. I'm ready for him to come back home. We all miss him and love him very dearly."
Thalia, 15, was sitting in class Feb. 25 when she heard over the school intercom that her classmate,15-year-old Grayson Walker, had been hit by a Hyundai Elantra the previous morning on Fairwood Drive in Hudson while retrieving the body of his pet dog Isabell, which had been hit and killed at the same spot about a half hour earlier.
"I was in shock," she said.
Students and staff alike prayed. Counselors were at the school in case they were needed.
Thalia got motivated. She decided to make bracelets to honor her friend, and to raise money to help the family with medical expenses.
"I had been thinking it would be nice to start a fund that would benefit Grayson," Thalia said. "I thought the bracelets would let him know that he was loved and also help the family by raising money."
With help from her grandparents, Jerry and Donna Edmisten, the bracelet idea took off. Thalia came up with the design: "Walker is a Fighter" was the message stamped into the green bracelets.
An order was placed with a company to deliver 1,700 bracelets to her Mulberry Church Road home.
Friends pitched in. Brianna Farr and Casidy Craig took some of the bracelets, and Grayson's grandmother Roberta Brookshire took some. So far, they have sold about 200.
"I am blessed to know Grayson, and I’m honored to sell these bracelets and give back some of that blessing to he and his family,” Brianna, 15, said.
School officials also pitched in to help Grayson’s family. Change was collected, and an indoor balloon release was organized in honor of Grayson. Faculty and staff wore green to show support. Between March 3-6, more than $2,000 was collected. Even Alice Suddreth’s first-grade class at Collettsville School donated money.
“Two days after it happened, the kids came to guidance counselors asking how they can help,” principal Jeff Link said. “That says a lot about our kids.”
Grayson continues his recovery. He is starting to ask questions about what happened and says he is ready to come home.