About the Brendan D. Downey Memorial Fund
When I think about why we chose to set up this memorial fund, two words comes to mind -- giving back.
Our son, Brendan, began having seizures when he was 15 years old --the time when getting a driver’s license was a teenage milestone. Not being able to drive plagued Brendan. Just like many teenagers, he wanted the freedom to go out on his own. There were times that Brendan was seizure-free for more than six months and he was able to experience the freedom of driving. Throughout Brendan’s high school career, he made the most of his situation. Brendan was kind and empathetic towards others; he was a true friend. He took the lemons and made lemonade.
Over the course of the next five years, Brendan remained on medications to control his seizures. He graduated from Courtland High School and spent his first year of college at James Madison University. During his time at school, Brendan began to have seizures again and with more frequency. After his first year at JMU, Brendan decided to come home and attend a local community college. What he didn’t account for is that he had to rely on others to get to and from school. At 19 years old, Brendan relied on us and Uber to get to school and his part-time job. Even though Brendan hated relying on someone else for transportation, he was more concerned about how much he spent getting there. Brendan spent as much as $1,500-$2,000 on Uber fares attending just two semesters at a local college – an astronomical sum. At age 20, Brendan finally got his driver’s license back. Within a week, he was involved in fatal car crash.
As parents of Brendan, we want to memorialize Brendan’s giving spirit and kindness. After his passing, we decided we wanted to help other students with chronic illnesses pay for higher education and ensure they can get there safely.
This memorial fund is two-fold. First, it's a small way for us to help students with a chronic illness pay for education; and secondly, we would like to raise funds to help with a student's transportation to class or medical appointments as needed. This is how we are 'giving back'.
Always in loving memory of Brendan,
Dan and Kami Downey
Every student should have the means and opportunity to continue their education.
To help students with chronic illnesses pay for higher education.