Fighting for Helene

$26,185 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 409 people in 26 months
Lexi Long
on behalf of Bruce Brandy
 PITTSBURGH, PA
On Saturday, May 20, a sunny day on the Ohio River for two young Pittsburghers turned into a nightmarish accident, which most pass through life without seeing, save for the big screen.

Nature-loving 25-year-olds Helene Brandy and Brittany Evans posed for a selfie on kayaks, smiling in front of a tranquil backdrop of the Sewickley Bridge and a blue sky. The two former co-workers took advantage of the nice weather to paddle the river on kayaks Helene’s boyfriend had bought as a gift.

Just over one more mile downstream, the women’s lives came to a heart-aching halt when the current swept them over the concrete wall of the Dashields Dam, pushing the screaming pair down a 10-foot vertical drop into a churning “boil” capable of ensnaring a jet ski. This “true drowning machine,” as noted by the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission in its Boating Handbook, killed Brittany, whose body was recovered that night, and has left the Brandy family frantically searching for Helene four full days after the incident.

If these women, along with nearly 30 other victims of Dashields, had seen the small white marker buoys and painted signs warning of danger as they coasted toward the only fixed-crest dam in service on this river, it was not soon enough. The dam, which looks like the edge of an infinity pool, is the only one that does not have a superstructure above it and is recognized as being invisible to those upstream. One big red “DANGER DAM” sign is painted on a concrete wall directly in line with the dam’s treacherous crest, an untimely warning.

Today, Kathie and Bruce Brandy remain at the Glenwillard Boat Club, desperately waiting on and now fighting for the recovery of their only daughter. The attention of local news outlets has been the main driver of rescue efforts, which have only covered the water’s surface. The Sunday morning after she was reported missing, not one official met with Helene’s friends and family at the river to help with their search until the news showed up and began making calls.

After showing friends and family the battered life vest that was meant to save Helene the following Tuesday, those leading the rescue efforts have officially turned their attention toward recovery. However, protocol states that after spending a certain amount of resources toward a rescue, the county will not allocate funds for the cost of recovery. In order to pull their daughter from the perilous waters to finally lay her to rest, Kathie, a senior home care provider, and Bruce, the owner of Boo-Bears Chimney Cleaning, are expected to foot the bill.

Allegheny County and our prized Steel City have failed. They failed the nauseating number of people who lost their lives on this dam and the loved ones left behind. They’re failing to give this distraught family a chance at closure because they have failed to liberate this young woman from their poorly-designed “drowning machine”.

So, we are asking you to please help us fight for Helene. A Pittsburgh native, former Pitt cheerleader and a genuine delight for anyone who has had the chance to meet her, Helene was a bright, strong social butterfly and a dedicated fan of all things Black and Yellow. She has been left down there alone, with her family battling through the crippling pain of their loss to bring their baby girl home. We need all the help we can get to show this family that while the system has failed repeatedly, the community can still join together to have their backs and put a stop to their torment.

 
Please keep Helene, Bruce, Kathie and Nick Brandy in your thoughts and prayers.
+ Read More
From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for supporting this beautiful family through this tragedy. You have all touched them so deeply and we are all forever grateful for each and every one of you. Rest in peace beautiful Helene, we all love and miss you so much
+ Read More
Becky Moore
26 months ago

On July 1 2015 my son Jason Moore went and jump in the Ohio River in Monaca Pa the current took him right under it took 8 days to find his bodey my son was 22 years old I know what these parents are going through all you can do is pray and keep praying God be with her mom and dad

+ Read More
Kathie Brandy
25 months ago

Becky Moore are you in grief counseling? I'm Helene's Mom and in great need of a grief counseling or support group for Mothers of mourning, please contact me. My pain is so raw!

+ Read More

$26,185 of $25,000 goal

Raised by 409 people in 26 months
Created May 24, 2017
Lexi Long
on behalf of Bruce Brandy
Your share could be bringing in donations. Sign in to track your impact.
   Connect
We will never post without your permission.
In the future, we'll let you know if your sharing brings in any donations.
We weren't able to connect your Facebook account. Please try again later.
SB
$100
Sharon Brandy
25 months ago

We love you. Aunt Jan, Sharon, Frankie and Matt

$25
Anonymous
25 months ago
$10
Anonymous
26 months ago
DR
$350
Daniel Rosen
26 months ago
1
1

I went to highschool with Helene and just like so many of us who knew her, I am absolutely devastated to hear of her unfair and untimely passing. Although I haven't seen Helene since we were in school together, I will never forget chatting and laughing with her whenever and wherever we saw eachother. Her joy and zest for life was undeniably contagious. I never saw Helene with out a smile and I know I never had an interaction where I didn't leave smiling myself. She was such a joy and a genuinely wonderful person. Helene had a light that nobody could put out and I know that light will continue to shine bright in her family and close friends. To Helene's family, words cannot describe how sorry I am for your loss. I know you must be amazing people to have a raised such an amazing human who made everyone she encountered feel like they were special and important. She was truly everyone's biggest cheerleader ❤️ Rest In Peace Helene. I will never forget you.

AC
$25
Annette Condeluci
26 months ago

Bruce and Kathie, Please know how very sorry we are. I know there are no words, and this is a parent's most feared nightmare. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Annette and Dave Condeluci

CG
$500
Carli Gaetano
26 months ago
1
1

My beautiful, talented, amazing cousin Helene... I miss you so much and love you forever. You were my partner in crime as we grew up...right next door to eachother. We were inseparable and I miss those days so much. I'm so sorry that this has happened to you. Like your soulmate Ryan said, A beautiful life lost; but the best damn Angel gained. You are always in my thoughts and heart my glitter girl! Bruce, Kathie, and Nick... so very very sorry for your loss of a wonderful daughter and sister. This will be the hardest thing you go through, but we are here for you all every single step of the way. I'm just a phone call or text away if you need ANYTHING! R.I.P. Heeny ❤️ I love you!

MW
$50
Maryann Wiesner
26 months ago
CM
$50
CJ Murray
26 months ago
JS
$100
Jessica Scalo
26 months ago

Thinking of you all during this time. With Love The Scalo Family

RL
$350
Ryan Luketic
26 months ago
6
6

Helene was my soulmate. She took my world and turned it upside down. I never knew what true love was until I met her. We will put a stop to this so no other family has to go through this pain and suffering. Rest easy sweetheart. I love you so much.

Becky Moore
26 months ago

On July 1 2015 my son Jason Moore went and jump in the Ohio River in Monaca Pa the current took him right under it took 8 days to find his bodey my son was 22 years old I know what these parents are going through all you can do is pray and keep praying God be with her mom and dad

+ Read More
Kathie Brandy
25 months ago

Becky Moore are you in grief counseling? I'm Helene's Mom and in great need of a grief counseling or support group for Mothers of mourning, please contact me. My pain is so raw!

+ Read More
or
Use My Email Address
By continuing, you agree with the GoFundMe
terms and privacy policy
There's an issue with this Campaign Organizer's account. Our team has contacted them with the solution! Please ask them to sign in to GoFundMe and check their account. Return to Campaign

Are you ready for the next step?
Even a $5 donation can help!
Donate Now Not now
Connect on Facebook to keep track of how many donations your share brings.
We will never post on Facebook without your permission.