New Kids on the Block honors local girl by wearing bracelet

HOUSTON – At only 8 years old, Kelsey Nalepa was killed in April 2017 when a driver crashed into her family’s car.

Sadly, investigators said alcohol was a factor.

"To think about an 8-year-old that’s been robbed of the rest of her life, it’s disheartening," Kelsey's mother, Nicole Nalepa, said.

Since then, the family has done many things in Kelsey’s memory, including setting up a scholarship fund, hosting and annual 5K walk.

"Just to see people putting the purple on, wearing the KN shirts, the Kelsey shirts, it’s very significant," Nalepa said.

One of the items that means the most to family and friends is a purple bracelet they wear with the phrase "Fly High Kelsey Girl."

It's the same bracelet New Kids on the Block singer Donnie Wahlberg was wearing at a recent concert.

As huge fans of the '90s boy band, friends of Kelsey’s mother put together a special girls' trip to one of their concerts, complete with the VIP treatment to meet the band.

It’s a show they’ll never forget. After sharing Kelsey’s story with their idols, the band members, in turn, wore the bracelets during a concert to show their support.

"He embraced us later and gave a genuine hug. The fact that he wore that bracelet, it meant a whole lot to me," Nalepa said.

Two years after the tragedy, the family said it's the continued show of support from family, friends and even childhood idols that helps them get through such a difficult time.

"We still to this day feel like her light was burned out way too quickly. But we got a lot of people helping us to keep that light alive," Nalepa said.

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