Stephen and Brandon Purcell, brothers and Division One Football players for Tulane University, took their first steps towards what would become the initial Walk Again charity when they learned that their teammate, Devon Walker, suffered a life-altering spinal cord injury during a game. After they came together with the New Orleans community to create and fundraise with Walker #18 shirts, they decided that was not enough.

Together they began the Walk Again Walker campaign, providing outlets to gather personalized letters and raising over $21,000 for Devon's medical expenses by creating and selling Walk Again Walker #18 bracelets.

To spread word of Devon’s journey, and the potential dangers of being an athlete, Stephen and Brandon contacted NFL teams to show their support.

As a result of their efforts, Devon received an Arizona Cardinals personalized Walker #18 jersey signed by the entire team, the New York Giants provided a signed jersey, and the New Orleans Saints followed through on their request to visit him while he was hospitalized. Stephen and Brandon saw the impact they were able to have on lifting their teammate’s spirit, which increased their desire to innovate and help spinal cord injured athletes in the New Orleans community and beyond. 

    Devon Walker, a senior member of the Tulane Green Wave Football team, sustained a severe spinal cord injury while playing in Tulsa, Oklahoma on September 8, 2012. Photo: Chris Graythen, Getty Images/NYTimes