SIOUX FALLS, S.D (Atelier Inga) – A family in Sioux Falls is making efforts to celebrate the life of their recently deceased young daughter. Briella, the 12-year-old daughter of Jim and Jodi Welch, reportedly had a deep sense of faith in God and a strong affection for her friends and family.
Gymnastics was another one of Briella’s passions. She discovered a new home at the Wings Academy two years after her family relocated to Sioux Falls. Wings served as her adopted family. They were extremely important to her. I believe that gymnastics served as her rehabilitation and a means of movement for her,” Jodi stated.
She began to really love gymnastics as she immersed herself in the local wings community. She started putting a lot of effort into that. That is when we first noticed her passion for God, but also for other people and her tenacity, according to her father, Jim Welch.
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When Briella was given the news that she had DIPG, an inoperable brain tumor, in November 2022, the Welch family claims that gymnastics, her family, and her faith helped her to remain strong.
“My wife and I looked at each other and said, eternity is way longer than we have here on Earth. So we’ll make whatever we can of her last days here,” Jim said. Briella spent her last months competing in meets, like this one, and spending time with her family.
“We had a really, really good three months with her, spent a lot of time with her, and we thank God that we were able to focus on her and really spend time with her,” Jim said.
February 6 marked the passing of Briella. Because she was always crafting and giving gifts to people, according to her family, they are also making gifts in Briella’s memory while they are grieving.
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Vince Welch, an uncle and board member, said, “We looked at it and said, it would be really fantastic to continue out that story through a foundation where we could generate money and have that money used towards scholarships for other gymnasts.” We simply want to give back to the gymnastics community because we know Briella would appreciate it and because they have been so supportive of us throughout this road, according to Jodi.
The Briella’s Story Foundation will tell her journey with gymnastics, art, faith, and family while providing others with the same opportunities she had. “I know that she wanted to be able to keep giving back and so this is a way to take her story, and all that she’s been given and continue the giving, you know, despite her not being here anymore, because that’s what she would want,” Sharif Welch, aunt, said.
Wings Academy will have an annual gymnastics meet that honors Briella in collaboration with the Foundation. If you would like to contribute to the Foundation, you can find a link to donate here.
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