'All this damage, from just one punch,' the heartbreaking letter for James Macready-Bryan
In October 2006, 20-year-old James Macready-Bryan
was out celebrating his twentieth birthday in Melbourne when he
found himself in an altercation.
He was punched, fell and hit his head.
Left permanently brain damaged and disabled, James now spends
his life in a high-care centre, wheelchair bound, unable to move or
In July last year, news.com.au launched Real Heroes Walk Away, a
campaign aimed at raising awareness that one punch can kill.
It prompted Megan McDermott to write a compelling piece about
her "close friend", in an attempt to highlight the dangers of
alcohol-fuelled street violence.
Just One Punch
"He looked like an ordinary kid with a smile too big for his
boyish face. He had a head of unruly curls that bounced with every
step. His laugh was contagious, his sense of humor outrageous. He
loved a mischievous prank.
Donning the blue, black and gold he kneeled on the moist grass.
His teammates bounded across the field to join him by his side.
Posing for the camera, they wrapped their sweaty arms around one
another. He loved a game of footy.
It was the night of his year eleven formal. He arrived at her
doorstep looking sharp in his black suit and purple tie (with polka
dots for effect).
His shoes were shiny and even his curls were tamed.
His best mate looked equally polished with his black hair
sweetly groomed and a rose to lift his suit. The girls giggled with
anticipation as the doorbell rang. 'Look at the boys! They look
The limo's waiting, they're just in time. The couples assembled
in the driveway for the obligatory photo-shoot. Hundreds of snaps
later they piled into the limo, waving their teary-eyed mums
goodbye. He loved a good dance.
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