Taking Flight: Sparrow’s Strength

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MEDFORD, Ore. — For the first time in Southern Oregon, Sparrow kids and clubs are flocking together for a one-of-a kind event this weekend. The “Walk For Sparrows” was put together by a North Medford High School student.

While this event will bring several of the children dealing with medical illnesses together, it was one particular Sparrow who inspired the event.

Between the t-shirts, wrist-bands and signs on campus, it’s obvious North Medford High School students care about their Sparrow, Brian Mendoza. The students met 2-year-old Brian Mendoza last fall, but one student has known Brian much longer: his brother, Eddie Mendoza.

“He was very small, his whole body would fit in my hand,” Eddie recalled.

Eddie, now a senior at North Medford, was a freshman when his little brother was born three months early at only 2 pounds, 2 ounces.

“One doctor even told us, not even a miracle could save him,” said Eddie.

During birth, Brian had an internal brain bleed followed by too much fluid in the brain, forcing doctors to install a shunt in his brain to drain the fluid and reduce pressure. Since, the toddler has had 16 shunt surgeries.

“Every time he gets sick we pray, even when he’s healthy we’re always praying, because that’s what kept us strong the whole time,” Eddie said.

Now, another source of strength and support is coming from the students of North Medford High School. The support is felt by the entire Mendoza family.

“It feels good to be the brother of a Sparrow,” said Cristian Mendoza, Brian’s other brother.

“It means a lot, when the kids are wearing their wrist bands, and their shirts,” said Eddie, “it’s hard to explain…it means a lot…throughout the year I’ve had students come up and ask me ‘how’s your brother doing’, they want to know about him.”

At least right now, Eddie can tell them he’s doing great. Brian is active as ever, trying his hand at everything from violin, to soccer, to rides on the trike.

You can support Brian and the area’s other sparrows at this weekend’s Walk For Sparrows. It’s happening Saturday at North Medford High School from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. You can show up anytime to take part in the walk, family-friendly activities, music and raffles. Admission is by donation. All of the proceeds will go to Southern Oregon Sparrow Clubs.