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Ralph Yarl, teen shot after ringing wrong doorbell, attends brain injury event on Memorial Day

<i>KMBC</i><br/>Ralph Yarl
Ralph Yarl

By Meron Moges-Gerbi, CNN

(CNN) — Ralph Yarl, a Black teenager who was shot in the head and arm after ringing the wrong doorbell in Kansas City, walked at a brain injury awareness event on Memorial Day.

The teenager and his family attended the “Going the Distance for Brain Injury” event, walking in the 1.5-mile race, according to CNN affiliate KMBC. It appears to be Ralph’s first major public appearance since the shooting.

In April, Ralph went to the wrong address to pick up his younger siblings and was shot by an 84-year-old White homeowner after he rang the man’s doorbell, authorities said.

Cleo Nagbe, Ralph’s mother, told KMBC that her son had been walking up to three miles ahead of the event. The teenager was not worried about walking but was more concerned with being around a large group of people, Nagbe said.

“It was mostly the anxiety for him,” Nagbe told KMBC. “Socially, it’s still hard for him. So, I’m glad he was able to overcome this. I pray that he will overcome most of his social hurdles after doing this.”

Nagbe thanked the community for their support at the event, saying, “It takes a community, it takes a family, it takes the support group, it takes all of that,” according to KMBC.

The event was organized by the non-profit Brain Injury Association of Kansas and Greater Kansas City. Robin Abramowitz, the group’s executive director, told CNN that she appreciated Ralph’s desire and effort to join the event because it can be difficult to be around large groups of “people who have recently sustained a brain injury.”

“He wanted to be there, but it can be a lot,” Abramowitz said.

She added that access to care early along with community and family support is important to recovery.

“Often with a brain injury it’s called silent disability because you may look OK on the outside, but inside you don’t feel the same and that can be really hard to articulate to your friends and family. That is why being able to connect with other people living with brain injuries really helps,” Abramowitz said.

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