Help a Hero: Donate to Danny!

Don’t you love feeling your children are safe, sleeping in our homes? Members of the O’Keefe family were enjoying that feeling on May 6, 2011, too. In A Letter From Danny’s Mother, a singular entry in a new blog, (and in the news here) I felt a twinge in my heart while reading this family’s alarming and moving story about a night when they weren’t. We all have a right to be safe in our homes- and when something tragic and unfortunate happens, the hands of the community at large should be there to help keep families from falling. 
Part of what I do on this blog is spread awareness about things I feel are important; connecting to and playing an active role in your community when something grabs your attention is one of them. While there are many, many issues in the world today that need our attention, (you know, like the fact that saying ‘vagina’ can get you banned from public speaking, there is a food monopoly happening by a company responsible for GMOs, posting breastfeeding pictures can get you banned from Facebook and apparently, there’s a Mom War, just to name a few…) one mantra I repeat on my Facebook site and in my head ad nauseum is this:

This mother is asking you, personally, for your voice and support in any way you can give it. I have troubles making ends meet, myself- but I still have a voice, as do you.

I’m also reminded of a Helen Keller quote:

“I’m am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”
If you don’t like reading about the gruesome things that happen in the world because they are overwhelming and make you feel helpless; that is where this story differs. Though tragic and horrible, both victims survived their attack, though now, their mother is asking for our help.

Sally- the dog who saved the lives of her people!
So what happened? An ex-boyfriend of Kelly’s, trained in tai chi (which I’ve always thought of as a peaceful method of relaxation, not a violent, senseless means of harm!) and armed with a weapon called a skull crusher, immediately entered the house when Kelly opened the door for the dog in the morning as both she and Danny were getting ready for work.
Hearing her screams, her brother Danny came to her aid and was brutally attacked, as well. They lay in a pools of their own blood for 6 hours until the barking of Sally, their one year old German Shepherd finally woke Kelly, who mustered enough strength and clarity in her weakness and confusion to call her mom for help.

“It was hard to see how either one of them survived. Clearly (Kelly) did because her brother protected her and took the brunt of the blows. But any of the blows … to her could have easily severed her main arteries or her spinal cord.” stated Dr. John M. Tew Jr., the clinical director of the University of Cincinnati Neuroscience Institute who oversaw the emergency brain surgeries of both siblings when they arrived at University Hospital.

Their mother writes:
Um, holy shit.

Because this was a high profile case, we were told by law enforcement to not talk to anyone, and were placed on lock down. We were asked to maintain our silence. We did. We talked to no one, and just waited to see if our children would live.

Because of our silence no one knows how badly our son, Danny, was hurt. Danny was stabbed 19 times in the brain. His right hand had multiple defense wounds.
His tendons were severed. He was kicked so hard his spleen was lacerated. Danny’s injuries have been compared to Congress Woman Gabby Gifford. His skull was so crushed it took a year, minus 2 days, to get a skull cap replacement in. Danny has had 5 surgeries in the last year. Now we’re fighting to get his life back.
Danny has aphasia, which means he has trouble talking, reading, and writing,devastating to a young man who had just finished law school. He wanted to be a defense attorney, to make a difference. Danny used to play the drums, but can no longer use his right arm. Danny walks with a limp, but he walks two miles every day.

I’m writing to ask for your help. Danny has Anthem insurance. They pay for 30 therapies a year. We got him on Medicaid, and they pay for 20 a year. Mercy Hospital is helping, but only for three therapies a week. We’re told for Danny to get better he needs more, closer to 9 therapy sessions each week. He takes Speech, Occupational, and Physical therapy 3 times each week now. We’re to send him to the University of Michigan UMAP program for speech. It’s around $27,000 for 4-5 weeks of therapy, and his insurance doesn’t pay for this. His doctors and therapists say he could need to go several times. Room and board for Danny and his caregiver (his dad will go with him) is not included in the cost. Neither is the cost of the other ongoing two therapies, physical and occupational.

Please click though to The O’Keefe Family Blog  and Facebook page to donate, leave words of encouragement or any other means of support you can think of and stay current on Danny’s progress. Also, read this post from Inside the Puppet Head for a post from a fellow mommy blogger and on of Danny’s personal friends. Thanks also goes to Twins Happen, a friend of Kelly’s, for her post and for bringing it to my attention on her Facebook page.

Danny is a true hero, saving the life of his big sister from an armed assailant. Now it’s our turn to help save him from medical costs.
Let’s help this family & show them that no mother is alone in her struggles!

[Update 7/14: Read the current news article!]

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One comment

  1. Thanks so much for supporting the O'Keefes with this post. It means so much to us who know first hand what Danny has lost and what he has to gain from this outpouring of support. Thank you thank you thank you! -Mary, at Inside the Puppet Head.


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