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Student credits Nolan Burch documentary for saving a life

Posted at 11:41 PM, Dec 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-29 23:41:30-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — “Breathe, Nolan, Breathe” is an award-winning documentary. But no award could match the stories shared with Nolan Burch's parents and the effect the film has had on college students.

“The more people that see it, the more lives that could potentially be saved,” explained TJ Burch, Nolan Burch’s father. Nolan died after a fraternity hazing incident at West Virginia University more than six years ago.

Tuesday a woman attending West Virginia University sent TJ and Kim Burch this story:

“A week or two ago I ended up saving a girl's life who had drank too much, and I had to argue with someone who worked for the university to call an ambulance. I brought up your son, how he could have been saved, and how she would have had the same fate if she was taken back to her dorm room.”

“Your documentary changed my life and gave me the strength to fight for someone else’s.”

You can read the full story the student wrote here:

“Somebody reaches out to us and says that Nolan’s story has impacted them, and they chose to do the right thing because of him and his story and the documentary that, it's bittersweet,” said Kim Burch.

Nolan's parents would be on a bus tour if weren't for the pandemic, showcasing their documentary to college students. They hope to be doing that soon.

It's often said, if you help just one person, it's worth it. But the Burchs say it's much more than one person, it's their parents, their siblings, their friends.

“It's never just one person you're helping,” added TJ Burch.

Their loss is immeasurable. But their story, six years after their son's death, is helping others.