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Boy Who Died In Dirt Pile Giving Others A Chance At Life

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DURHAM, N.C. — The mother of a 12-year-old Durham boy who died after he was buried in a pile of dirt is calling her son a hero.

On Sunday afternoon, Bryan Culberson was playing with some toy soldiers in his father's yard on Farthing Street. He was using a pile of topsoil as his playground. When he dug a tunnel through the base of the mound, it collapsed on top of him.

Bryan's father, Dan, tried to save him by performing CPR, but Bryan never regained consciousness.

A year ago, Bryan told his mother that he wanted to be an organ donor someday. This week, his family respected his wishes.

"I'm so proud of him. Just knowing that there is some bit of him out there right now that is helping someone else. I'm grateful that I had the privilege of being his mom," said Nancy Culberson, Bryan's mother.

Some of Bryan's organs have already been put to good use. Doctors have transplanted two of his kidneys to other patients, giving them another chance at life.

"That's what my son was all about. He always wanted to do a good deed daily. I know that he is doing a good deed daily for a lot of people," Nancy said.

Bryan went to Brogden Middle School. This week, they have grief counselors on hand if students want to talk about their classmate's death. The school is planning to plant a tree and install a plaque honoring Bryan.

A memorial fund has also been set up in memory of Culberson. Donations can be made to:

Bryan Culberson Scholarship Fund Troop 400 Boy Scouts of America c/o Aldersgate United Methodist Church 1320 Umstead Road Durham, NC 27712


Julia Lewis, Reporter
Don Ingle, Photographer
Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

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