‘He wanted to be friends with anyone and everyone’: Community hosts game for students with special needs in memory of one of their own


NEW HANOVER COUNTY (WWAY) — After losing one of their own, New Hanover High School hosted a baseball game for all ages and abilities on Thursday afternoon. Children with special needs from across the county fought and showed their support for their friend, Bryson Furtado.

Bryson had a lasting impact on his classmates. In his senior year, he paired students with special needs with school athletes for a baseball game.

“They all did circuits that day,” laughed her parents, Kim and Brian Furtado. They say Bryson deliberately dropped balls and jumped out of the way for the kids to run the bases. “They all had multiple home runs. Lots of mistakes. »

Their goal: to have fun, normalize interactions between students of all levels and show how much each student was loved.

“He showed them love,” said one of Furtado’s friends, Aidan Flynn. “It showed them that no matter who you are or what you do or what you do, he wanted to be friends with anyone and everyone.”

Bryson greeted the students who walked through home plate with a medal, a hug and a fist bump.

“And when it was all done,” Kim Furtado recalled, “Bryson came up to me and said mom, ‘this was the best day of my life.'”

Last January, Bryson committed suicide.

Determined not to forget their friend, hundreds of people gathered in the New Hanover High School gymnasium on Thursday, cheering on special needs students, nicknamed Bryson’s Buddies, remembering the former student and baseball player with a match.

“I fell in love with Bryson,” said Keandre Marshall, a student with special needs, “and still to this day we’re…he’s still in my heart…and it’s going to be an event. incredible.”

And although Bryson is gone, his impact lived on Thursday in every smile, dance move and home run, hopefully continuing for years to come.

“If they could all come together and accept each other, and love each other, hang out together, I think Bryson would love that,” Kim Furtado said.

“I just hope it’s the first in a long line.”


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