Friends of the Sprowl family held a fundraiser on Dec. 21 to benefit Riley Sprowl, the 16-year-old Van Alstyne High School junior who was injured in a sledding accident on Dec. 12. The weather certainly didn’t cooperate – with constant pouring rain and temperatures in the low 40s – but that did not seem to matter.
The Sprowls could use a helping hand in this time of need and the community showed up to provide it.
Riley suffered a devastating spinal cord injury in that sledding accident and is paralyzed below the shoulders. The young man and his family will have some adjusting to do in regards to the things most of us take for granted — housing and transportation to name just two — and much of that will result in a financial hit. And while those who love and care for Riley, mom Karla and dad Jason cannot do much for him medically, they can help ease the financial strain.
To that extent, Paul and Angela Anderson of Melissa and Jeff Burge of Van Alstyne put together a t-shirt and bracelet sale for two hours on Saturday morning with all proceeds going directly to the Sprowl family. It speaks to the well-liked Sprowl family that the Andersons, who own and operate Unleased Spirit Wear, live and work in Melissa.
"This is how we knew we could help," said Angela.
And help they did. The Andersons say that despite a 9 a.m. opening time for the event, held at First Baptist Church in Van Alstyne, people were showing up by 8:30 a.m. By 9:10 a.m. the Andersons had sold 400 shirts, basically selling out in 10 minutes. In addition, with a half-hour left to go in the sale, the Andersons reported that they had sold more than 600 of the bracelets.
The Andersons both said they were not surprised at the response from the community.
"The number of people who have shown up to support the Sprowls is not surprising," said Angela. "The support we’ve seen is amazing."
Van Alstyne Athletic Director Mikeal Miller, who also coached Riley in football, said he was touched by what he saw.
"It means a lot to us — the number of people who came out," said Miller, speaking for the VA coaching staff and Riley’s teammates. "He would be proud to see his community and friends and all the people who showed up here today."
Despite the selling out of the t-shirts, the fundraising efforts are not done. Paul stated that the efforts would continue; currently, the Andersons are waiting for more shirts to arrive. The t-shirt and bracelet sale will be held again at basketball games, and the Andersons are currently working out the most profitable way to conduct the sales online. All proceeds from the sales go directly to the Sprowl family.
"We just want to make sure the Sprowls get as much money as possible from all this," said Angela.
To find out more, visit the Pray for Riley page on Facebook.
An account has been opened at Independent Bank to help the Sprowl family. Checks should be made payable to either Karla Sprowl or Jason Sprowl and the contribution will be deposited into Riley’s benefit account. Checks can be mailed to Independent Bank at P. O. Box 921, Van Alstyne, Texas 75495. In the memo those donating are asked to write in "Riley Sprowl’s Benefit Acct."