Marlboro County students rally behind injured peers to shed light on traumatic brain injuries

MCCOLL, SC (WBTW) – Students in Marlboro County are raising money and bringing awareness to traumatic brain injuries as two of their friends continue to recover from a recent ATV accident.

In just four days, the community has raised $4,000 in honor of the local students.

David Walden, a high school senior, and Landon Williamson, an 8th grader, were on an ATV last June when they were hit by a SUV and thrown into a ditch. The boys were found unconscious after the crash and transported by helicopter to McLeod in Florence.

Walden suffered pelvic and scapular fractures, a minor concussion and a rectal tear, but stabilized after he underwent emergency surgery.

Landon, on the other hand, was in a coma for two weeks breathing with the help of a ventilator. Doctors only expected him to live a week with the amount of swelling in his brain.

“Your life can change in the blink of an eye… you never know how strong you are until something happens,” said Landon’s mother, Jackie Chavis.

After he woke up from the coma, Landon had to re- learn how to walk, talk, eat, and even hold his head up. Landon was sent to the Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte in June to work with therapists, and by September, he was allowed to return home to McColl.

“You really don’t know how much you’re loved and supported until something happens and you just see everyone come together and want to help and support you in ways you didn’t think they would,” said Chavis.

David’s mother says the boys were like brothers, and as soon as David had recovered from his own injuries, he was right by Landon’s side.

“When Landon wasn’t responsive, David was still there. Talking to him and bringing him prayer clothes. Praying for him. As he recovered, he would go to Charlotte to be with him,” said David’s mother, Sherry Tibson.

“I try to spend as much time as I can with him. He enjoys, I enjoy being around him because as you can see, he’s always smiling. He puts me in a positive attitude,” said David Walden.

As the boys continued on the road to recovery, Landon’s mother partnered with another student, Taylor Marcum, to organize an event to introduce the boys to the first responders that flew them to the hospital that day and celebrate David and Landon’s story.

On Wednesday,  the community met and wore green to recognize Traumatic Brain Injury Day. In addition to just starting a conversation, McColl Elementary/ Middle School worked with local business partners to raise money for the McLeod Foundation in honor of David and Landon.

In just four days, the school had surpassed their original goal and raised $4,000 for Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month. Students originally aimed to raise $1,000 and have business partners match their effort, but in the end, the school alone raised over $2,000.