The medical bills for Danny O’Keefe, who was brutally attacked eight years ago in Fairfield while attempting to save his sister, are not covered by insurance and total more than $80,000 per year.
Power Ryde, an indoor cycling business, and the Moeller High School soccer program are hosting the fifth annual Danny O’Keefe Fundraiser on Saturday. The fundraiser is a 45-minute spinning class at 10:30 a.m. on RealRyder tilting bikes. Casey Hilmore, Power Ryde founder and co-owner will teach the class.
The fundraiser was Power Ryde member Betsy Shepherd’s idea. She had just moved to Ohio from Nashville and heard about O’Keefe’s story through Moeller, her son’s school at the time and O’Keefe’s alma mater.
“I was just shocked by it. I felt I just wanted to help the family,” she said.
O’Keefe had to re-learn to walk and talk, and continues speech, physical and occupational therapy eight years after a brutal attack on May 6, 2011, that nearly cost him his life. His sister’s ex-boyfriend was attacking her with a knife, and O’Keefe intervened. He was stabbed 19 times and suffered a crushed skull.
“My son has made great strides,” said Kathy O’Keefe, Danny’s mother.
Eight years later, he’s able to live on his own, though it is close to his parents, and he has an assistance dog, Zack.
“One of his hardest hurdles has been speech,” said Kathy O’Keefe. “I think this has been especially damaging to Danny who is an attorney. The good news is that his speech has improved greatly and seems to get better every day.”
He suffers from aphasia, which loss of ability to understand or express speech caused by brain damage, as well as hemiparalysis (paralysis of one side of his body).
The family has taken O’Keefe to the University of Michigan’s Aphasia Program, but on average the program costs $28,000 per month and is not covered by insurance.
He’s been able to drive again and walked his fourth Flying Pig half marathon with Zack this month.
“It has been a long eight years of hard work for my son to come this far,” Kathy O’Keefe said. “Danny continues to push himself every day.”
O’Keefe spins at Power Ryde twice a week, and Shepherd and those at Power Ryde want to see the fundraiser get bigger and better.
“He’s just such a fighter,” she said. “He’s just an incredible guy. He fights so hard to get back whatever he can.”
After Saturday’s Power Ryde fundraiser, there will be another fundraising event from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. June 15 at Grand Sands Volleyball on Loveland-Madeira Road in Loveland. The family will not hold its annual golf outing this year.
“There have been so many kind and generous people who have helped my son. We will always be thankful and grateful,” Kathy O’Keefe said.
For more information on the fundraisers, or how to help Danny’s recovery, visit www.DannyOkeefe.org.
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