When Caruso Family Charities first met the McConnell family four years ago, they were in a dire situation. Their 8-year-old son Griffin had been having full-blown epileptic seizures almost constantly, which had become life threatening. They were quickly losing their exceptionally bright son, who learned to play chess at the age of 4 and was in gifted classes at school. When his seizures wouldn’t stop, Griffin was taken to the hospital in Grand Junction, then airlifted with his mother Kori to Children’s Hospital Colorado. His dad Kevin quit his job, packed up the younger children and moved the family to Denver for a long ordeal.
After all other treatments failed, Griffin was preparing for a hemispherectomy – an extremely invasive brain surgery that would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and leave him permanently disabled – but would save his life. His parents considered every creative way possible to qualify for assistance to pay for the surgery, including filing for divorce (an idea that didn’t seem far-fetched with the marital strain from so much stress.) With Kori constantly at Griffin’s side at the hospital for two months, Kevin was doing his best to work a lesser-paying job than the one in Grand Junction to make ends meet. But they were behind on bills and faced foreclosure on their home. With no family in Denver, they didn’t know where to turn.
Through a mutual friend they met Jerry and Karen Caruso, who offered not just a little help – but real help. Their initial reaction was to say no, but the situation was much larger than they could handle alone. But the McConnell family became part of the Caruso Family Charities’ family. Their bills were paid and their mortgage was caught. Their marriage was saved and they were able to bring Griffin home after the hospital and focus on his recovery with his brother and sister at his side. All three children are now thriving: Griffin and his 10-yr-old brother Sullivan are chess champions and also perform in local theater. Six-year-old Moira will perform in the play Annie this summer. Best of all, Griffin has been seizure-free ever since.
“We would have lost our home if not for the help of Caruso Family Charities. You literally kept our family together.” – Kori McConnell
Pictured: Griffin in hospital at age 8. The long road of rehab with his family at his side. Four years later Griffin is back to acting and playing chess and was the Colorado State Co-Champion 2017.
Kevin and Kori McConnell with their children; Griffin , Sullivan and Moira