Even though Robert “R.J.” Shirey graduated, the students and staff at his former school, Our Lady of Victory, are rallying around him, offering him prayers and support in his time of need.
In fact, they’re holding a schoolwide fundraising effort this year to help Shirey and his family.
Shirey, now at junior at State College Area High School, was injured in a hunting accident, which resulted in an above-knee leg amputation.
OLV holds fundraisers to help support former student
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According to his family, he was shot at close range with a 12 gauge shotgun.
Some family members started a GoFundMe campaign in his honor to help cover the cost of medical expenses for at least nine surgeries, physical therapy, a prosthetic leg and more.
A statement on the website reads, “We, his family, believe he has a greater purpose to which God has called him for. He will touch lives and make a difference.”
The Shirey family draws inspiration from Philippians 4:13, which says, “I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me.”
I want to thank you with all my heart for helping us.
Kristin Shirey, R.J.’s mother
“I want to thank you with all my heart for helping us,” Kristin Shirey, R.J.’s mother, said in response to the school’s help.
She hopes to plan a trip to the school so she and her son can visit with and thank the students, faculty and staff.
This fall and winter, language arts teacher Andrea Brandimarte and art teacher Heather McQueary are leading the school’s fundraising effort for R.J.
They don’t expect to make a lot of money, but any penny is a penny more toward helping the family.
Brandimarte said fundraising builds on the values students are taught every day.
“We’re always teaching our students to show kindness and compassion for others,” she said in a prepared statement. “Even something as small as smiling and striking up a conversation with a student sitting alone at lunch. What we’re doing for R.J. is one more way for our students to put the values they’re learning into practice to help others.”
Fundraising initiative used as part of class curriculum
Students also planned and brainstormed fundraising activities, and learned the science behind prosthetic limbs.
The proceeds from these events will be donated to the Shirey family in March.
Upcoming fundraising events
Fundraising events planned for the Shirey family include:
▪ “The Polar Express” family movie night on Friday,
▪ admissions and concession stand profits from the middle school dance for OLV students in February,
▪ and an additional “dress down day” offered in February for students who donate to R.J.’s fund.