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University provides statement on injured TWU students

Friday, July 26 – While on vacation in Charleston, South Carolina, two Tennessee Wesleyan University students were involved in a serious car accident. The students’ vehicle was struck by a driver who was fleeing from police in a stolen vehicle.

Kyle Blassingame, a senior class leader and student-athlete, was critically injured and taken to an area hospital. Since the incident on Friday night, Kyle has undergone multiple surgeries and remains in the hospital where family members from Athens have joined him. Kyle is on the road to recovery, but will remain in Charleston in the coming days as he begins physical therapy and builds up strength to travel home.

Lane Lusk, a nursing student, was also in the car during the accident. Lane suffered numerous injuries including trauma to his brain. Attempts to reduce the swelling in his brain were unsuccessful and Lane’s family had to make the difficult decision to remove life support. Lane passed away after donating organs to help save seven lives. Lane’s family also traveled from East Tennessee to Charleston and have been by his side.

In the spirit of family and support, TWU and CapStar Bank have partnered to create the Kyle Blassingame Benefit Fund and the Lane Lusk Benefit Fund. The University will serve as the conduit to collect the funds that CapStar will then release to the family. Money raised will go directly to the families to offset medical and travel expenses incurred during this difficult time.

An online giving page has been created where anyone will be able to donate to the fund of their choice. Gifts can also be made at any CapStar Bank location or mailed to the Athens branch at PO Box 869, Athens, TN 37371.  Please be sure to designate which fund(s) you are donating to.

For questions, or if you would like additional information, please contact Dr. Scott Mashburn, Vice President for Student Life by email or calling (423) 746-5216.

Thursday, July 25 – Today, the TWU family grieves. We grieve the loss of one of our own. We grieve with the family of Lane Lusk as they enter a new season with an unknown path. This morning, Lane’s earthly adventure came to an all too early end.

We also celebrate. We celebrate the light that Lane brought to the world. Lane was an encourager, supporter and friend to everyone he met. He cared about people deeply and embodied the spirit of what it means to be a Bulldog. His example in life will stay with all of us that knew him – especially the nursing family that he loved so much.

Lane’s purpose was to help those who were suffering. As a part of the Ft. Sanders Nursing Department, he was able to interact with patients during clinicals, as well as during his time as a CNA within the UT Health System. His presence in the classroom and on the hospital floors where he served will be missed. His final act of caring comes as an organ donor. Lane’s light will carry on through those who will live because of his gifts.

The entire Bulldog family sends our thoughts and prayers to Lane’s family as they endure this painful time. May we all look to Lane’s example of how we should live – laugh a lot, share joy and love deeply. #LiveLikeLane

Details on how you can help the families during this difficult time will be provided in the next few days. Please follow social media and this page for updates.

Monday, July 22 – During difficult situations, families lean on each other for support and strength. As news spread on Saturday morning, that’s exactly what this Bulldog family has done. Kyle and Lane have impacted TWU in many ways since joining this community. Kyle is a campus leader and student-athlete, while Lane is an integral part of the nursing department, continuously supporting and encouraging his classmates.

Every year, we charge our graduates to go out and be a light to the world. Kyle and Lane aren’t waiting for graduation. Each person they encounter, every situation they find themselves in, they bring a light to those around that is infectious and memorable.

The campus community has come together to pray, cry and support one another – all the while, also finding ways to care for these young men’s families. We will continue these supportive efforts in any way possible. TWU staff are working with the families to identify tangible ways we can help – as those details emerge, we will let you know.

We continue to pray and keep all involved in our thoughts.

-Dr. Scott Mashburn, VP for Student Life

*This page will provide continued updates on support efforts from the University. Please check back for frequent additions.

Media inquiries can be directed to:
JJ Hulet, 423-746-1123 jhulet@tnwesleyan.edu or
Katherine Davis, 770-530-9034 kdavis@tnwesleyan.edu