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Brandon Trefelner - Teen raised funds for injured youngster

April 23, 2006|By TARA REILLY

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - When a local teenager's mother told him to remember an injured toddler in his prayers, he did more than pray for her. He raised $8,600 to help her and her family.

Brandon Trefelner, 14, sold purple wristbands for $2 each to benefit Prayer Wenger, who suffered brain damage in a near-fatal swimming pool accident in July 2005. She was 17 months old.

Thanks to Brandon's efforts, Prayer's parents, Lisa and Michael Wenger, were able to purchase several items, among them a hot tub for their daughter's therapy.

"The tub is a true blessing," Lisa Wenger said. "Prayer is so stiff at times that she cannot be bent to be held. Some of the money also went toward a wheelchair and a hyperbaric chamber to help push extra oxygen into Prayer's brain.

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"Without Brandon's bands, I don't believe there would have been as many fundraisers or knowledge about Prayer's accident. He helped get the word out.

"Without Brandon's big heart, I don't believe we would've been able to do half the things for Prayer we have done. He touched not only our family, but the whole community."

Now reunited with her family in their Quincy, Pa., home after stays in Hershey (Pa.) Medical Center and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Prayer, 2, is "doing very well, although she still gets very sick at least once a month and has many seizures," her mother said.

However, she now cries, laughs, coos, blinks and wiggles her toes.

"She smiles at people and that must mean she now sees," Wenger said. "She moves her arms and she turns her head to sounds. She cannot walk, talk or swallow, but she is happy."

After hearing of Prayer's accident, Brandon ordered reminder bands, which prompt the wearer to pray for the person whose name is on the band, emblazoned "A prayer for Prayer," and placed them in banks, car dealerships and other businesses in Hagerstown and southern Franklin County, Pa.

The Greencastle-Antrim Middle School eighth-grader said he chose purple for the wristbands because it is one of his favorite colors, and it turned out to be Prayer's birthstone color. The bands are sold out.

Brandon met Prayer about a month and a half after the accident, and was moved by the experience.

"She couldn't move much," he recalled. Seeing Prayer made him feel better about soliciting prayers and money for her, he said.

Serious illness in his own family affected Brandon, and perhaps made him sensitive to the Wenger family's needs.

Brandon's brother, Nicholas, was diagnosed with liver cancer at age 3. After nine months of chemotherapy proved unsuccessful, Nicholas received a liver transplant.

"We were in shock at the diagnosis," Brandon said. Now 4, Nicholas is doing fine.

As for the future, Brandon's dream is to become a professional athlete, or to go into criminal justice as an FBI agent or an attorney.

"I've always liked risk," he said.

Besides having a heart for those with medical problems, Brandon loves sports.

"Sports are my passion, " he said. He played football for the Greencastle Eagles and now for the Blue Devils, and is on the basketball and track and field teams at GAMS.

Brandon's dream is to become a professional athlete, or to go into criminal justice as an FBI agent or an attorney. "I've always liked risk," he said.

Q&A

Name - Brandon Trefelner

Address - Greencastle, Pa.

Date of birth - Sept. 12, 1991

Occupation Eighth-grade student at Greencastle-Antrim Middle School

Most notable achievement- I named my sister Alexis.

Your proudest moment - Making the seventh-grade basketball team after not making the team the year before.

Who is the person you most admire and why? - Troy Polamalu (defensive back for the Pittsburgh Steelers) for his professionalism and his devotion to God and his family.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received? Who gave it to you? - Always be first and nothing less. My dad.

What is the next goal you would like to achieve? - To receive a full scholarship to college for sports or academics.

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