A grieving Texas family marked the third anniversary of a fatal car crash that forever changed their lives on Wednesday, and got some help from close friends and caring celebrities in honoring the day.
On July 2, 2011, while driving home to Houston from a vacation in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Joshua and Robin Berry were killed in a head-on collision, ABC News reported. Their two sons, Peter and Aaron -- who were 9 and 8 at the time -- sustained serious spinal cord injuries and were paralyzed from the waist down, while their daughter, Willa -- who was 6 -- suffered minor injuries.
A man driving northbound near Fort Stockton, Texas, with his wife and then-1-year-old daughter became distracted while looking for a DVD, according to ABC News. He drove into another lane and slammed into the Berry’s car. The family was headed in the opposite direction.
The orphaned kids now live with their aunt and uncle, Matt and Simone Berry, and cousins, Misha and Noah.
In the three years since the accident, which garnered national attention, the Berry kids have focused their energy on the future, in moving forward and healing.
To help them do so, a number of A-listers have shared their story to encourage people to support the family.
In the immediate aftermath of the accident, Kim Kardashian, Britney Spears and a number of other celebrities used social media to spread the word.
Justin Bieber also launched a fundraiser for the family.
"Justin Bieber found out about it, and he reached out to the family. And they agreed to his amazing gesture of goodwill," Allen Deutsch, a friend of the Berry family, told The Huffington Post.
Some household names have gone above and beyond supporting the mourning family on Twitter and Facebook.
Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watts, for example, often meets with the family, plays wheelchair basketball with the kids and has even made public nods to the Berry children during games, according to the Houston Chronicle
In November 2012, during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Watts made the motion of a wheelchair after sacking the opposing team’s quarterback.
"I was eating dinner at their house on Friday night," Watt told the Chronicle back in 2012. "They said they’re going to be watching the game. They said give us a signal. I said, 'OK, when I get a sack, I’ll do the wheelchair.'"
When the anniversary of the car crash came around this year, Watt made sure to commemorate it on Twitter with the message: "Rest in peace Robin & Joshua."
From yesterday. Rest In Peace Robin & Joshua. pic.twitter.com/nwh5Z5Lh5d
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) July 3, 2014
With support from friends, family and famous folks, the Berry kids continue to excel in their new life.
Aaron and Peter play adaptive sports and attend summer camp for kids with mobility problems. Peter’s Hotwheels basketball team won the 2013 National Championship in Louisville, Kentucky, according to the Chronicle. Aaron has expressed interest in the military, and Willa hopes to one day work as a party planner, like her mom did.
While they all say they wish the accident never happened, they remain undeterred from looking forward.
"We can breathe again," Simone Berry told the Chronicle. "We found a nice new normal. And most importantly, the children are thriving."
If you would like to help Peter, Aaron and Willa Berry, find out out how you can get involved by visiting the Joshua and Robin Berry Children's Trust Facebook page.
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