Words. Torin Hjelmstad

January 28th, 2011 by Conor

Danny, Conor, & Family,

A couple DANecdotes:

…Danny, Conor and I went to the same babysitter for a year or two when we were pretty young. The only memory I have of Danny is when, upon being told he couldn’t do something, he got so upset that he told our babysitter he was going to go home, get his axe, and chop down all her trees. A little impulsive? Sure. A kid being a kid? Probably. A sneak peak into what might happen if you challenge him? Yes. (I always wondered if he actually did have his own axe…)

…When I heard that Danny and Conor started a clothing line, it didn’t surprise me, nor did it probably surprise anyone. Someone once told me that when Danny was in elementary school and Jr. High that he used to burn CDs and sell them to his friends. I could picture The Kid Entrepreneur, working out numbers and figures at his desk.

In the spring of 2003, my junior year at Kennett, I was diagnosed with leukemia. It forever changed my life. That summer was a blur of biopsies, IVs and chemotherapy. Amid the chaos and struggle, I watched my friends, classmates, teammates, coaches and the entire Mount Washington Valley come together to support my family and me. We are blessed to have all grown up in such a great place. One memory that’s forever etched in my mind is from a benefit dinner held at the Elks Club for my family. Things were sort of winding down and people were just sort of milling around, then all of a sudden the room got noticeably louder…the lacrosse team had come in. Led by Danny, they walked over to my table and presented me with a KHS lacrosse jersey as a token of support. A silence came over the room as Danny handed the jersey to me, wishing me the best in the most sincere, true fashion; a classy move by a classy guy. I won’t ever forget that.

Danny, you may be the one on the other side of the glass in the ICU, trying to sleep– trying to live–amongst the jungle of tubes, IV drips, clanging machines and male nurses, but no matter how hard it gets, or how bad it hurts, know that you’re not alone. It’s a long road to back to normalcy, but if anyone can do it, you can. You’ve got what it takes. And you have an entire platoon of people supporting you, land and sea, stateside and abroad. And from someone who knows the compassion and generosity of the great people from the MWV (dare I say greatest in the world?), I can tell you the difficult steps of recovery are made easier knowing that you have thousands of people rallying around you. It truly does make a difference. And by all accounts, it sounds like things are improving daily, so keep it up.

“If you’re going through hell, keep going” – Winston Churchill

Conor and all of you who are keeping the rest of the world updated with your blogs: kudos to you all, it takes a lot of courage and guts to tell your stories.

Danny, think of your road to recovery as a forest of trees that you need to chop down with your axe: just another challenge.

Sending all my best.


Torin Hjelmstad

2 Responses to “Words. Torin Hjelmstad”

  1. Davd Hamlin Says:

    Thanks Torin,

    What a great and moving story. It’s incredible how many people are writing deeply personal notes that serve to inspire all of us. Yours takes the cake. Or the axe. Or the whatever. Thanks for pushing us forward – and thanks for the great Churchill quote!

  2. Tom Jannuzzi Says:

    Nicely put Torin. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Seems like just yesterday we were at the Elks club presenting you with that jersey. MWV is home to so many great people including yourself. Great to hear from you!

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