Trainer Ruffo is honored for rehabbing crash victim

Michelle Ruffo, holding Ben's Bell, with Jessyka Murray, friends and family. Ben's Bellings reward acts of kindness.

The recipient of this week's Ben's Bell is Michelle Ruffo.

Ruffo was nominated by her friend Philip Miller, who said Ruffo, a physical trainer, has gone above and beyond to help in the rehabilitation of Jessyka Murray, a 19-year-old woman who was involved in a car crash that nearly killed her and left her with brain damage.

On Nov. 14, 2010, Murray was a passenger in a friend's car when a truck made an illegal turn and struck the car, according to Star archives.

Ruffo receives some compensation for helping Murray with her physical recovery, but she has also donated her time to help organize fundraising events for Murray, Miller wrote in his nomination letter.

Ruffo has organized hot dog sales, 5K runs, golf outings and events at Laff's Comedy Club to raise money for Murray's medical expenses.

"Her personal rapport with Jessyka is a beautiful thing to watch, and due to Michelle's unending dedication to Jessyka's rehabilitation, Ms. Murray has made tremendous progress," Miller wrote.

The project

Ben's Bells promote kindness and community. Each week a person who betters Tucson is "belled." Go to BellingForm to submit a name.

Contact reporter Veronica Cruz at or at 573-4224