Turnout tremendous at benefit for injured college student

Published Jan 9, 2013 at 11:20 am (Updated Jan 14, 2013 at 4:13 pm)

“A tremendous turnout” is what Alan Bushmire called the crowd of supporters who attended the Jan. 5 benefit for his son Brandon, who suffered a serious brain injury after being struck by a car.

More than 1,500 people attended a pasta dinner that raised funds to pay for out-of-pocket expenses associated with Brandon Bushmire’s recovery. Bushmire, 21, was struck by a car and suffered a serious brain injury on Sept. 8 while walking with friends near the Indiana University of Pennsylvania campus. He was studying business at the college.

Bushmire, now of North Strabane, graduated from South Fayette High School in 2010. He is the son of Alan Bushmire of North Strabane and Dorothy Deep of Bethel Park.

“What an amazing day,” said Diane Merkle, close family friend of the Bushmires, and one of the organizers of the fundraiser held at the South Fayette Fire Department. “It took a small army to make it the success it was. We are so grateful for all the help and support.”

Merkle added that based on door totals about 1,500 to 1,700 people attended the dinner, which also featured a 50/50, silent auction and a Chinese Auction with dozens of items.

“We are very overwhelmed by the support,” Bushmire said. “I’ve seen faces I haven’t seen in years.”

Bushmire said his son, who is staying at the Children’s Institute in Squirrel Hill, is making “incremental improvements.”

“He adds a new skill every week or two,” Bushmire said. He’s hopeful that Brandon will be able to undergo a swallow test to see if he’s regained that ability so that he can eat solid food. Right now he is being fed through a gastrostomy tube. Bushmire said that for his son, “every day is like running a marathon.”

Bushmire’s cousin, Ernesto Cordova of West Virginia, said and he’s known Brandon since he was a baby and wanted to show his support. “This family is really close.”

Michael and Sharon Mautino of Finleyville attended the benefit because Michael works with Brandon’s dad. Michael Mautino said Brandon’s high school graduation party was held at the same venue.

“I’m here to support his healing,” said Lori Karowski of South Fayette. “Hopefully, he will be better soon.”

To keep up-to-date on Brandon Bushmire’s recovery, visit facebook.com/BrandonBushmireRecoveryStatus.

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