PERU Co-workers, relatives, friends and neighbors of Ryon and Nicole OConnell will come together to lend the OConnell family a hand by hosting the Brady Fund Family Fun Day Sunday, Oct. 14. The fun day will take place at the Peru Community Church Fellowship Center, at the corner of Elm and Pleasant streets, from 1-6 p.m. The event is expected to include something for everyone, including a spaghetti dinner, a 3 p.m. live auction, a bake sale, raffles and entertainment by Roy Hurd and the Seven Twenty Band. There will also be several free childrens activities.
On Feb. 5, 2007, Ryon and Nicole OConnell became the proud parents of a third son 8 pound, 12 3/4 ounce Brady. The OConnell house promised to be a busy place when Brady joined brothers Riley, 6, and Zachary, 3, but the OConnells couldnt foresee that five weeks later Brady would suffer an accessory renal vein rupture and multi-organ failure.
Thanks to the wonderful work at CVPH Medical Center and by the Fletcher Allan Transport Team and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Brady survived. Months of hospitalization and treatment in Burlington followed and Brady has regained the use of all his organs with the exception of his kidneys. One or other of his parents were with Brady every day during his six months of hospitalization.
We have had a lot of support from family and friends," Nicole explained. "Ryon and I rotated every five days. The hospital staff made us feel like family. We were so comfortable with them. You could tell they really care for Brady.
On Aug. 21, Ryon and Nicole were able to bring Brady home to Peru. At home, he undergoes 12 hours of peritoneal dialysis during the nighttime hours. In the daytime, his brothers and mom keep a close eye on him. His special formula has double the normal number of calories.
When asked how Bradys situation has affected his brothers, Riley and Zachary, Nicole OConnell said, The other kids are doing remarkably well. Our biggest challenge now is keeping a normal family life and incorporating Bradys special needs into our life. We have to give the older boys the attention they need. Just because Bradys got special needs it doesnt make him any different in terms of the way he fits into our family. Hes one of the boys.
Nicole said Brady would try to make a guest appearance sometime during the Oct. 14 Family Fun Day. The OConnells just returned from a four-day medical consultation in Boston and are very hopeful a kidney transplant will be able to take place next spring. Ryon is continuing to teach fifth grade at Peru Intermediate School, as well as coach girls basketball and JV football. Nicole has taken an extended unpaid maternal leave of absence from her position as a kindergarten teacher at the Mooers Elementary School. Perhaps Nicole best expressed the couples philosophy of life when she said, God gives you what you can handle.