“Nick Nation” leaves their mark

Hiba Ahmed, Business Manager

This past summer Nick Balenger, a senior and Lake Braddock’s star baseball player, suffered an accident that put had put him in critical condition. His friends at both Robinson and Lake Braddock have come together to sell “Nick Nation” wristbands during the football games to help support him and his family.

Balenger was vacationing in Hawaii along with his family for his birthday in early August when the accident occurred. He was enjoying his time in the water, when a wave he had jumped into crashed down on him and caused his fourth and fifth spinal vertebrae to separate.

Balenger’s girlfriend, Allison Eichelberger came up with the idea of selling Nick Nation bracelets at Braddock’s football games to help support his family. The word spread to junior Jordan Shortnancy and sophomore Lauren LeBeouf, who decided to help by also selling Nick Nation wristbands at home football games.

The accident has caused the family to make serious accommodations to their life. With over $250,000 going towards medical bills, therapy and household renovations to make the house more accessible for him, the family is under a substantial amount of stress.

The wristbands sell for $3 and are sold at the Nick Nation table set up by Shortnancy and LeBeouf. They hope to bring awareness to the accident and raise money throughout the school year to donate to the Balenger family.

“Allison has been a close friend of mine through dance, so when I heard about the accident my heart went out to her, Nick and his family. I wanted to do whatever I could to help, so Jordan and I thought it would be great to introduce the Nick Nation bracelets into our school community,” LeBeouf said.

With the magnitude of Balenger’s injury, doctors said he would be lucky to walk again. However, October 17 he walked a total of 50 feet with a walker without much assistance.

He also attended the popular Lake Braddock vs. Robinson game where he received his state ring for baseball. This drastic improvement has led his doctors to believe he might be close to full recovery within a year.

Shortnancy said, “His family is so grateful for all the support and money that has been raised. They love how the message of their sons accident has spread throughout the community to another school and student that may not even know him are willing to support.”