UNOH is #Cray4Bray

Posted on Wednesday, November 08, 2017


Braylon Collier is welcomed onto the UNOH Soccer Field through a tunnel of UNOH Student Athletes

In September 2017, after his family noticed uncharacteristic weight loss and unexplainable bruising. Braylon Collier, an Elida Elementary School 4th Grader, was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia.  The diagnosis was scary for everyone in Bray’s immediate and extended family, but Bray remained strong and steady and was ready to fight this diagnosis head on.  Bray is the nephew of UNOH Athletic Trainer Jen Pitson.  When news of his diagnosis made it to the student-athletes Jen trains, namely the defending National Champion women's soccer team, the girls started wondering what they could do to honor Bray and let him know his entire UNOH family was supporting him.

The team and coaches decided they would welcome Bray, along with his sister and mother, onto the soccer field before their Wolverine Hoosier Athletic Conference Quarterfinal Match vs. Lawrence Technological University.  With the help of fellow Athletic Trainer Aron Downey, word traveled fast around campus. Before the game, nearly every student athlete at UNOH formed a tunnel for Bray to walk through, high-fiving each athlete along the way.  He was greeted at the end of the field with a Superman goodie bag.  The team wanted to illustrate that Bray is their Superman and to encourage him to keep fighting the battle against CML the way he has since the diagnosis was made.  Bray’s mother received flowers and his sister was greeted with some goodies of her own as well.

Organizer of the event, Assistant Women’s Soccer Coach Jen Dervarics, said she hopes that by showing support for Bray it “teaches our girls and the rest of the UNOH athletic teams and campus community that people are fighting battles much bigger than we are.”  Dervarics continued, “We all need to look at the big picture, put things into perspective, and be inspired by people like Bray, who has taken his diagnosis in stride and been a true champion throughout it all. Bray has been nothing but positive and is an inspiration to anyone he encounters.”

Following the short ceremony, Bray’s mother, Nikki Collier said “I’m overwhelmed with emotion. This means so much to me and to Bray for all the athletes to show support for him like this.”  Jen Pitson expressed much of the same feelings, “Today was so awesome and meant so much to Bray and the family.  He is a true inspiration with his love and faith in God that this is all part of his story.”

If you’d like to know more about Bray Collier and help his family to raise money toward his rising medical bills, visit his YouCaring page. 

Category: Campus & Community, Athletics

Keywords: Bray Collier, Soccer, Leukemia, Cray4Bray

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Last updated: 11/07/2017