Fallston Fins raise money to remember teammate

Bella Bouffard swam 70 laps Tuesday morning. A couple of teenage boys swam 130 laps, almost two miles.

Instead of swim team practice, Bella was raising money for a former swim team member who was killed in a car accident almost three years ago.

Bella and the other boys are members of the Fallston Fins swim team at Fallston Swim Club, which raised more than $3,000 Tuesday for the Katie and Wil Brady Memorial Foundation. More than 100 swimmers hit the pool to raise money in memory of Wilson, an 8-year-old better known as "Wil" and a member of the swim team, and his mom, Katie, who were killed in a car accident on the Hickory Bypass in the fall 2008.

This was the third year for the Swim-a-Thon, according to Taylor Brown, head coach of the Fallston Fins swim team.

The Fins hold the fundraiser every year "to honor and remember a great little boy who encompassed all the things it meant to be a 'Fin,'" Brown wrote in an email.

Swim team members were challenged to swim as many laps as possible and recruit personal sponsors. Breakfast was provided after the swimmers swam their hour.

The swim-a-thon Tuesday morning raised about $3,000; proceeds from the bingo later Tuesday evening were also going to the foundation to help establish a family bike trail. To donate, visit http://www.katieandwil.org.

"It's so great to see the kids get so involved and so excited," Brown said Tuesday afternoon.

Brown, who's been swimming with Brady's uncle since they were 5 or 6 years old, said she has known the Brady family almost her entire life.

Wil's cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents are still active in the Fallston Club and its swim team.

Though the Bradys lived in Perry Hall at the time of their deaths, Wil Brady swam for the Fins.

He "always had a smile on his face and had an inherent talent for the sport of swimming. He was always on the side of the pool cheering on his teammates and even taught his younger, brother, Ian, how to cheer for the Fins," according to a flyer advertising the swim-a-thon.

Wil and his mom died when another vehicle crossed the centerline and hit head-on the vehicle in which they were riding. Mrs. Brady's husband, Stephen, who was driving, and another son, 2-year-old Ian, were seriously injured but survived. The driver of the other vehicle, Christopher Lentz, pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter and is serving a 13-year prison term.

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