January 14th, 2011 by Conor
I’ve been following Danny’s progress daily via the website. It’s absolutely amazing how many people have come together to offer support and assistance to Danny and his family during this time. It truly is a testament to how many people Danny has touched throughout his lifetime.
I first met Danny in high school. We were in the same freshman class. I don’t recall our first interaction, but I remember shortly after we met we became good friends and remained good friends throughout high school. Danny was so friendly and funny and we hit it off right away. I remember calling Danny all the time on the phone and getting so nervous when Connor answered because he was a junior (and Danny’s older brother) and I was only a freshman. It wasn’t long before I realized that Connor was just as funny and kind as Danny and I quickly got over my anxiety.
One thing I remember about Danny was that he was always rockin’ out to good music. In high school Danny (and I think Tom) made these “Pimp Mixes.” They were home made CDs of the best songs and while I am sure he never intended on them becoming so popular – shortly after Pimp Mix Volume I came out everyone wanted to get their hands on a copy, myself included. Another memory of Danny that sticks out in my mind was senior year in Mr. Fayle’s English class. We had just spent the last couple of weeks drafting our college essay’s and Mr Fayle made the whole class stand up and one by one discuss the topic of their essay. I remember when it was Danny’s turn, he stood up and proudly told us how he chose to write his college admission essay on his brother Connor and how their relationship had impacted Danny in so many ways. Reading Danny’s essay brought me to tears and I will never forget reading it. I remember thinking how truly special their bond was and how I hoped that i could one day share the same bond with my little sister that Danny and Connor shared.
One of my funniest memories of Danny was Christmas 2004. We were in college at this point and home on Christmas break. Let me preface this story by explaining a few things – my dad’s birthday is Christmas Eve. Every year he has a party on his birthday with a big Christmas Eve dinner. When we were kids, Berkeley and Zac would come to my house for dinner. As we grew older, Berkeley and Zac began having their own party at their house which was two houses down from mine. Their parties were usually well attended and quite certainly a bit more exciting than my parents and their friends. My dad is a pretty traditional guy and so we always said grace before dinner…..
So there we were…Christmas Eve 2004, my parents, myself and 12 of my parents closest friends had just sat down to the dinner table. My dad was just about to say grace when we hear a loud noise at the door and the voices of 3 guys in hot pursuit of a raging party…all of a sudden Danny, Conor and Dave Soroka blow through my front door all with 30 packs in tow. They rounded the corner to see us all sitting at the dinner table, which took all of us by surprise. Immediately, Danny realized that they were in the wrong house and had actually intended on going to Berkeley and Zac’s, but because we lived so close, they must have been confused by all the cars outside which belonged to my parent’s friends. It was so funny and when he realized that they had crashed the wrong party, Danny instantly let out his signature laugh. It wasn’t long before we were all laughing in hysterics. My family still talks about that every year on Christmas Eve to this day and I will never forget it…especially the expression on Danny’s face.
When I heard about what happened to Danny I felt so terrible. I am currently working as an Occupational Therapist at Tripler Army Medical Center in Hawaii. I work very closely with patient’s who have sustained similar injuries to Danny. Some of these patient’s have sustained TBI’s as a result of the war and others have been from non combat related injuries and accidents like car accidents and motorcycle crashes. One of the best parts of my job is seeing these patient’s progress from following simple commands such as blinking or wiggling their toes to being able to sit at the edge of the bed without assistance. One of the largest predictors of progress throughout the rehabilitation process for patient’s with TBI is a strong support system. This is obviously not going to be a problem for Danny!!!! He has an amazing support system and sooo many people behind him that will make a tremendous impact on his recovery and rehabilitation.
Conor – you are a truly amazing brother. This can be a really hard time for family members and I am literally in awe at your strength and unwavering support for Danny and your family during this time. You amaze me!!!! I have worked alot with patients with TBI. Occupational therapists are usually key players when the patient’s medical status has stabalized. We play a key role in the patient’s rehabilitation and return to independence. While I am sure the nurses and doctors are keeping you pretty informed and the Occupational Therapist is not even in the picture yet, I just wanted to let you know that if you have any questions or want more information or research or help throughout the rehabilitation process, please don’t hesitate to ask. I am thinking of you and Danny and your family, especially Ellen Shea every day. I am sending you guys positive vibes and look forward to hearing great things about Danny’s recovery.
-Laurel Coffey 🙂