Before last Saturday, Brittany Morris’ future was questionable. At age 29, Morris, who has cerebral palsy, has outlived her life expectancy by 17 years. The state recently implemented costly sewage and bathroom requirements for the Morris family home to meet her physical needs. Without financial assistance, Brittany would have to leave her family home and move to a state-approved facility designed to accommodate the needs of persons with cerebral palsy.

The Benefit for Brittany, which took place Saturday, far exceeded any expectations by those who put the event together and those who donated money.

“The bottom-line dollar amount would totally blow your mind,” said organizer Darla Strickland.

Strickland and several friends of the Morris family who called themselves Team Brittany started the event in a living room one night, and then on a Facebook page. From there, it just “blew up,” they said.

Florence Keller, a family friend, wrote the Facebook post, stating that she knew of a family in need and asked for people to help.

No names were mentioned until the event grew larger than anyone had imagined.

“We all love Brittany. I mean, Dianna [Brittany’s mother] is such an amazing ... she’s just an inspiration. I just had to help my friend. I’m just a messenger,” Keller said.

Another friend, Sheila Leach, said her first event idea was a balloon-popping game where people could purchase darts, pop balloons and win small prizes.

“It went from, ‘can we find a piece of plywood to pop some balloons on?’ To port-a-potties and bounce houses,” she said, laughing.

“It got so big, so fast,” she said.

Among items donated to the action were a horse, complete with a saddle and other gear; five large bales of rolled hay; family heirloom quilts; a Texas Rangers helmet worn and signed by Elvis Andrus; a football signed by former Dallas Cowboy tight end Jay Novacek;  restaurant gift certificates; haircuts; vintage coins; fitness memberships; hunting trips; and a four-night stay in South Padre Island.

“I was reading off the raffle and I thought I would never reach the end,” Leach said.

She said donations were coming in all day long, up until the auction began at 7 p.m.

Keller said the dollar amount she thought they raised at the event quadrupled when it was counted.

“God had his hand in it, is all I can say. I worked with some awesome ladies, and I mean to tell you they were — everybody was just great.

“This has really gotten me, and I look at Dianna and I wish that I can be just a quarter of the good person that she is on the inside. Her and Gary [Brittany’s father], that whole family, they are just so great.”

Organizers of the event said they would like to thank everyone who came together in a team effort to help Brittany. They also wanted to thank Rio Vista Volunteer Fire Department for the use of their engine bays and their kitchen, where event volunteers spent seven hours cooking and feeding attendees.

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