A fundraiser on GoFundMe started in support of Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMUK) graduate student Bharat Marella after the engineering student was involved in an car accident near Corpus Christi, April 8, has raised more than $67,000 toward medical expenses for him.
Marella is in a coma at Christus Spohn Health Center in Corpus Christi. The accident occurred shortly after 9 p.m. on I-37, after the driver behind the wheel of a Ford truck slammed into Marella’s Nissan SUV, causing both vehicles to flip and leaving Marella in a coma.
After being taken to Christus Spohn Health Center in Corpus Christi, Marella remains in critical condition and has already had several traumatic brain surgeries performed since the accident, and is expected to remain in the ICU until further notice.
Elizabeth Laurence, TAMUK International & Multicultural Event Coordinator for Student Activities, said after his latest surgery, Marella has seen slight improvements in body reflexes.
“They are still waiting for the swelling to go down since his skull was removed,” Laurence said.
Even though an undisclosed amount of donations has been given to Marella’s fundraiser, Laurence insists that anyone who is able to donate should visit the GoFundMe page in support of the student who was scheduled to receive his master’s in engineering this spring semester.
“They originally asked for $100,000, but realistically, it’s only a drop in the bucket,” said Laurence, who confirmed that the family of Marella will not only have to pay for brain surgery, but also health care and hospital fees. She said providing the funds for Marella’s family to travel and be lodged while they wait by his bedside would be a big help.
While the investigation by the Corpus Christi Police Department originally suspected the driver who struck Marella from behind to be under the influence, Laurence confirms, “it is no longer allegedly.”
Laurence reiterates the fact that “this affects all of us,” seeing as another TAMUK student, Jaqueline Olivares, tragically lost her life in October 2014 at the hands of a drunk driver.
The South Texan will continue to follow Marella’s progress. For more information, visit Marella’s GoFundMe by searching “Urgent Brain Surgery-Bharat Marella,” or contact Student Activities at: (361) 593-2760.
Follow Raul Altamirano on Twitter: @raulsotx