West Alabama family honors loved one through giving back

Brian Barrett was a father to Bella and Anna Grace and husband to Danika.

COLUMBUS, Miss., and LAMAR COUNTY, Ala. (WCBI) – Brian Barrett was a father to Bella and Anna Grace and husband to Danika.

In 2021, he began experiencing health issues that started with an allergic reaction to a tick bite.

That led to him getting a pacemaker. He would later catch COVID.

“We went to my clinic and his oxygen was really low,” Danika said. “He’d been coughing really bad, they sent us straight to the hospital. That Monday, he called me around 4 ‘o clock and told me it was getting harder to breathe and he wanted to ask them to put him on a vent”

A few days later, Danika got a call that he had been put on ECMO, a treatment that normally takes weeks to months to get to help the lungs.

From August to October, Brian went through ups and downs.

He would get better, then get worse.

“We prayed and prayed and prayed,” Bella said.

They had decisions to make

“He has two favorite numbers in the whole world,” Danika said. “It was 18 and 55. I wanted things done with those numbers.”

Brian’s nurses made sure they gave him the perfect EKG with his favorite numbers at the perfect time.

“But we got to be with him and be there with him,” Danika said. “At 8:55,” Bella continued.

Brian was laid to rest on October 22. However, his family made plans to have his legacy live on, and they started the Brian Barrett Memorial Foundation.

It started by giving to families with loved ones in the hospital and random acts of kindness. It turned into scholarships for dual sport athletes going into a trade school.

“Neither one of my parents really went to college, but they worked hard for the things that they have,” Anna Grace said. “So we just really give back to those students who are so deserving and selfless.”

Danika, Bella, and Anna Grace say that through the foundation, they get to keep Brian’s legacy alive.

“I had made promises, and one of my promises was that I would say his name every day, and I wanted his name to never be forgotten,” Danika said. “In 30 years, somebody can say ‘ I got to go to my trade school because of this.'”

“Just knowing that I’m making him proud and implementing the things he raised us to do and the people he raised me to be,” Anna Grace said. “Doing those things makes me feel closer to him.”

“Tell your family that you love them, give them extra long hugs,” Bella said. “I can remember the last hug I got from my dad, and if I could go back, I’d make him hug me for an extra 20 seconds longer.”

The next event benefiting the Brian Barrett Memorial Foundation is a golf tournament at Knolls Country Club in Reform on August 24. To register, you can visit the Brian Barrett Memorial Facebook Page or email brianbarrettmemorialfoundation@gmail.com.

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