An unbreakable bond

Sophomore and junior go from club members to best friends


Contributed by Aryssa Ramos

Sophomore Donny Alexander and junior Aryssa Ramos are spending the day together. They were eager to hangout right after Christmas.

When junior Aryssa Ramos became a sophomore, she developed an unexpected, heartfelt companionship with sophomore Donny Alexander through Best Buddies.

“I have made deeper connections and really got to understand disabilities,” Ramos said.

Donny is limited verbally and was born with hemangioma which is a blood tumor on his upper thigh. This took a lot of the blood he needed for his brain to function. The doctors said the brain was supposed to recover itself but they didn’t know how, which resulted in cognitive dysfunction. When Donny was three, he was diagnosed with autism.  

In 2011, Donny lost his mom to cancer, which left a constant thought in the forefront of  the mind of his father, Scott Alexander: How would he watch Donny and keep up with work?

Ramos has been picking him up from school and staying with him, which has been a big help to his dad. 

 “It worked out perfectly for me,” Scott said. “He just loves her, and she is so good to him. “She has been a huge blessing.”

Since she has been watching Donny, they have grown a closer bond and learned more about each other. Ramos says that she has been trying to teach him how to cook, some new words and they even go to church together every Sunday.

“They were pretty much friends right off the bat,” Scott said. “He is always excited when I ask if he wants to see Aryssa. So I know he loves interacting with her.” 

Ramos’s friend, junior Ellie Brown, says that the two buddies are always together. She says Donny is very fun, and Ramos always enjoys the time they share.

Ramos and Alexander are at a Riley Dance Marathon meeting. Ramos says that Alexander loves to voice his opinions. (Photo by Sophia McKinney)

“She treats him like he doesn’t have a disability or like she doesn’t get paid to watch him,” Brown said. “She treats him like she is just wanting to hang out with Donny.”

Her friendship has brought a lot to Ramos’s life, including a new outlook on the future and many lessons on the way there. She plans on doing behavioral therapy for disabilities as a career in the future. 

As their friendship continues to grow, the people around Ramos find their impact on each other evident and hope to see more. 

 “She pretty much knows him inside and out, they are literally best friends.” Scott said. “It’s awesome.”