Students show support for classmate run over by bus
POMPANO BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- Middle school students are showing support for a classmate who was nearly killed by a transit bus on May 10.
Fourteen-year-old Jerry Cunningham suffered traumatic brain injuries and multiple injuries to his body. He still lies unconscious in a hospital bed, unable to hear all the love, but Cunningham's friends won't stop walking until he gets better. "Help him pay for his medical bills," said a student about their efforts.
Cunningham's teachers and schoolmates at Crystal Lake Middle School in Pompano Beach, where Jerry attended classes, started the day Friday by marching on his behalf.
They each paid $2 for the opportunity to participate in a walk-a-thon and raise money towards Cunningham's recovery fund. "I paid extra for him and his family," said student Cydnie Budd.
Cunningham's friend Skyler said, "We used to play video games a lot and go to the movies and stuff together, and when I heard what happened, it was pretty hard."
Budd added, "I think his family is going through a lot. Like, he's in critical condition, but I guess the family is happy he is still alive and still recovering."
An employee at the school spoke to the crowds and delivered the following message, "Mom and dad are so appreciative. You have no idea. I have spoken to them almost every other day to check on Jerry and his condition, and he is doing better."
Nearly three weeks ago, Cunningham ran to catch the bus at a stop near 1199 East Sample Road in Pompano Beach. Surveillance video shows the boy sticking his right hand between the doors, but the bus operator pulled them shut and pressed the gas pedal while the boy's arm was stuck. Cunningham was then run over by one of the bus' wheels.
Cunningham is still recovering in a South Florida hospital where he has spent three weeks in a medically induced coma. He is now out of that coma but has remained unconscious. Doctors are hoping that he will be able to wake up on his own. He suffered traumatic brain injuries as well as many injuries to his body.
On the bus, you hear people scream at the driver to stop, but he doesn't. Instead, the bus ran him over. On any other day, Brenda would have been on the bus with Jerry. "I feel like if I were there, it wouldn't have happened," she said and wonders, "There would have been a line to pay."
As his mother chased behind, she saw the entire thing. Said student Ashley Heiblum, "The mom too, seeing him get run over-- absolutely horrific."
His teachers and classmates believe they were able to raise about $1,000 in the walk-a-thon to donate towards his funds. They said they are going to continue to fundraise at the school and in the community to help out in his recovery effort. "We love you, Jerry!" they said in unison, as they spelled his initials on a basketball court.
That marked the first fund raiser they hope to perform to help him in his recovery. There are many more events planned.
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