Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What a special young man

Written by Jenn

I was lucky enough to attend the University of Dayton with Danny and even luckier to be his next door neighbor during his junior year on Lowes Street. 440 and 442 Lowes were our houses but it always felt more like one big house because we all spent so much time together. From the first day that I met Danny, I knew he was special. There was just something about him that I couldn’t put my finger on but that I just knew and felt. As time went on, he repeatedly showed me just how special he was. 

I always admired Danny - probably more than he ever even knew. He was the kid with the giant heart who could be silly and have a great time - but also always kept things together with his studies and values. He lived life with a masterful balance. Danny was like a brother to me in college...I lived with 3 other girls next door to him and 7 other guys - so they always looked out for us...especially Danny. I was struggling with some things that year and any time that word got to him that I had had a crummy day - he would come leaping into my house to give me a giant bear hug. He always gave the BEST hugs! Although he always had something sweet and encouraging to say…with those hugs – he didn’t even need to speak. I could feel the love and genuine concern in the way he would hug me and look at me. Danny’s presence and love could turn my day around in seconds – and it very often did. 

I cannot think of a person less deserving of this tragic situation and more deserving of the love, support and help that he needs to get his life back. I could write for days on all of the ways and reasons that I love Danny – but it all comes down to the fact that he is an all around, and genuinely AMAZING person…to the core. It was always impossible to be around Danny and not smile and feel good. He helped me forget my troubles more times than I can count, and I want to help him forget his. I am so grateful to have the pleasure of calling Danny my friend. I cherish Danny and our friendship and am inspired by him on a daily basis. This hero needs our help to get his life back. He saved his sister’s life – and now he needs us to help save his!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Hello, this is Rick Pitcairn. As most of you know, I write poetry under the name Emery Greye. I want to tell you a story of a wonderful young man. His name is Danny O’keefe. He is a hero and is struggling each hour of every day, fighting to get his life back. The O’Keefe’s are a wonderful family, but the events of that horrific night last year, when Danny was severely injured running to the rescue of his sister being stabbed by a home intruder. The cost of the different types of therapy needed is more than most families can endure. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Check out "I support the O’keefe Family" on FB.

Here is Emery’s salute to Danny.

This poem is for a hero
Whose a brother and a son
A friend to all who know him
And doing "right" is number one

It's sometimes unbelievable
The hands in life we're dealt
There is no rhyme nor reason
For the good and bad we’ve felt

You threw yourself in harm’s way
Without a second thought
To protect and save someone you love
Your heroism can’t be taught

But since that day your life has changed
You would do it all once more
And Jump into the line of fire
You’d trade your life for sure

Now as you fight with valor
No matter what the cost
Your strengths an inspiration
As you regain what you have lost

May the Lord bless you and the love
of the Spirit Engulf and protect you. – Emery Greye

Friday, July 20, 2012


Written by Brian Moore:

I moved to Columbus for law school in August 2006 and met one of my best friends in Danny O'Keefe that same month.  I hardly ever recall the first instances of when I met anyone and as I've gotten older, I've become very bad with names. The first time I met Danny, however, for some reason just sticks in my mind. 

As First Year's (or 1L's) for short, we got herded around like cattle to all of these orientations and whatnot.  I'm not sure which particular one this was but it ended with a "picnic" in Capital's parking lot under a massive white tent.  I sat down at some table  and a couple seats over from me I noticed this blonde guy with a beat up John Deere hat and flannel shirt on.  I remember thinking to myself, "Wow, a John Deere hat.  That guy doesn't give a s#!@.  Sweet."  He had a spaced out look on his face and I got the impression he was like me, and didn't know anyone there.  I didn't talk to him directly but naturally all of the people at the table started the obligatory, "where are you from?" questions.  To my chagrin, everyone said something typical like Columbus or Worthington until it was my turn and I said Cincinnati.  I thought for sure I was going to be the only guy from Cincinnati in my class.  To my shock, Danny said Cincinnati too.  I remember we made eye contact then and we gave the knowing Cincinnati nod. 

I slid over to where he was sitting sometime later and like any good Cincinnatian, I started with the obligatory question, "Where'd you go to school?"  Someone from anywhere else on the planet would have responded with their college.  Danny knew better.  His response was "Moeller."  I said, "Cool.  I went to X."  Moeller and X are archrival, all guy high schools.  X and Moeller guys tend to hang out at mutual parties and have mutual friends.  Naturally, we had mutual friends but never actually knew each other.  Further, he knew friends of mine at Dayton and I knew friends of his at Miami.  Yet, we did not know each other.  We probably were even at the same parties in high school.  It took a law school ice breaker picnic 100 miles north in Columbus for our worlds to collide.

Once school started, I didn't see as much of him during the week because we were in different sections (meaning we had no classes together and the classes were at different times).  I remember the first time I ran into him in school was in the lobby.  I was talking with him when someone behind me called my name and I turned around to talk to that person.  I swear my head was not turned for more than 20 seconds and when I turned back, Danny was gone.  The next time I ran into him in school, it happened again.  I was talking with him on the second floor, I turned around for a half second, and by the time I turned back around, I saw only his backpack disappearing into a stairwell.  From that day on, I decided his nickname should be "Batman."  He did nothing to change my mind.  He'd show up in random places in the building as if appearing from no where.  He'd suddenly appear next to me in the library.  When he wasn't within my sight he seemed to appear in different places in the building according to different people I'd talk to.  It was seriously starting to freak me out.  And so his legend grew. 

He, Joe, and I all lived on our own as 1L's but we joined up as roomates for our 2nd and 3rd years.  I've never had more fun in my whole life than I had living in that house.  Legendary stories emerged from every single one of our nights out.  Sobriety was often in question.  Our group of friends developed to the point that we called ourselves "the Dynasty."  Each of us had a nickname; Danny's was "the Mystery."  We'd often think he was upstairs in his room doing work because we hadn't seen him all day and his car was there.  He'd actually be out somewhere else and just didn't tell anyone he was leaving or where he was going.  He was notoriously awful at answering cell phone.  Other times, his car would be gone and we'd htink he was gone but suddenly at 5 PM he'd emerge from his cave and just say "Sup Broskis."  Joe and I ceased trying to figure him out after a while.  He was just the Mystery.  And we loved him for it.

I suppose in some sick twist of fate, Danny lived up to both of his nicknames on May 6, 2011.  Danny was Batman, a superhero who sacrificed himself to save another's life.  Why of all days his car was in the garage that morning rather than on the street is a Mystery.  It sounds stupid, but I remember thinking exactly that when I was informed of the full details of what happened.  When I first heard of what happened is one of those moments like 9/11 where I will forever mark time.  I remember where I was and exactly what time it was.    It took me months to believe it was real.

By some miracle, he's still here with us now.  For that I'm eternally grateful.  I'm also grateful for any and all of you who can help the O'Keefe family and raise money so that he can get the rehab he needs to get all the way back to where he was.  I need to be able to tell him Moeller sucks and hear him say X sucks more back to me for my life to be complete.  Danny of course has higher standards than I do so he has a lot further to go.  With our help, he can get there.

Thank you for reading, and thank you for donating.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Danny’s days begin early. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, Danny goes to Speech, Occupational, and Physical therapies. He is there from 8:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. Afterwards, he comes home for lunch, and then works on his own for a couple hours on his speech. When he is done, Danny and I do range of motion exercises on his right arm and hand. Once he is done with that, he takes a two hour walk. 

For extra support, a tutor comes on Monday and Wednesday late afternoons to help with his speech homework.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Danny mostly works independently with speech DVDs. However, a tutor comes again in the late mornings to work on his speech homework with him. Afterwards, he works with Sally and takes his walk. 

We just received a wonderful offer of massage therapy. Hopefully we can add this to his schedule.  

 Danny is signed up to go to the boot camp speech therapy program at the University of Michigan. He is signed up to go to two four week programs. We have talked to a previous patient of the program, and he told us about the wonders of this program. 

We are now working on getting the other two therapies, occupational and physical, while he is there. They do not see that as being a problem. 

While working on his hand and arm exercises, we recently learned that Danny’s right hand was also broken in May 2011. Today he went to a hand surgeon. 

Thankfully, we were told it healed on its own pretty well, and the tightness he is experiencing in his hand is mostly due to the tightness in his ligaments and tendons from the early surgery. So that was good news. 

We are still working on getting funding because, as you can imagine, these programs are expensive. 

Furthermore, we would like to get Danny additional funding for his necessary occupational and physical therapies.  

Please, during these efforts, remember to guard Kelly’s privacy. Remember she was terribly hurt too. She needs to move on and continue healing. 

I wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for the donations, warm thoughts, and much needed prayers. 

Your outpouring of love has been amazing. Thank you from all of us.



Monday, July 9, 2012

A Letter From Danny's Mother

On May 6, 2011, a man broke into my daughter's home. He forever changed all of our lives that day. He hid in the dark early morning hours, and forced his way in. This man attacked my daughter, stabbing her multiple times. Her brother, Danny, heard her screams, and ran to her aid, changing his life forever.

I'd tried all morning to get my daughter, and then my son, by phone, text, and email. It was very unusual not hearing from them. Concerned, I called my husband, who was working at a job site, and told him. I thought I was being paranoid, but he needed to go check on them. He proceeded to pack up his gear.

In the mean time, my children's one year old shepherd had barked for 6 hours straight. This puppy woke my daughter, Kelly. Her barking saved our son's life. My daughter called me, knowing she was sick and hurt, but not what was wrong. My daughter fought blood loss and multiple injuries to make that call. That call saved both of their lives. My youngest son, Kyle, got home, and I sent him too. He and his dad, Jim, got there right behind each other. I sent them into a nightmare, neither will ever forget. Things like this just don't happen in real life. It's too horrid to be real; but it is.

Sally - the beautiful dog that saved Kelly and Danny's lives
I've been told it's the worst crime scene the police and EMTs had ever seen. My two children laid in pools of their own blood for 6 hours before help arrived. They were stabbed in the brain, chest, neck, and arm. Once I heard from Jim, he told me to go to UC Hospital because my children would be aircared there.

Danny had to be resuscitated at sight. He barely made it to Mercy Fairfield Hospital. Aircare picked him up there. At that time, my daughter was already at UC Hospital, arriving by aircare. I was told she would have brain surgery, and then turned around and was told Danny had arrived and would be having brain surgery. Can you even imagine?

After receiving that news, I had to call my other son, Ryan (a US Army MP). He was stationed in Seattle after being deployed in Iraq for a year and a half. I had to tell him we didn't know if they would live or not, it didn't look good, and to get home as fast as he could.

Because this was a high profile case, we were told by law enforcement to not talk to anyone, and were placed on lock down. We were asked to maintain our silence. We did. We talked to no one, and just waited to see if our children would live.

Our daughter, Kelly, is an assistant prosecutor for Butler County. She is back to work, working to reclaim her life. We try to shield her from the curious. 

Because of our silence no one knows how badly our son, Danny, was hurt. Danny was stabbed 19 times in the brain. His right hand had multiple defense wounds.

His tendons were severed. He was kicked so hard his spleen was lacerated. Danny's injuries have been compared to Congress Woman Gabby Gifford. His skull was so crushed it took a year, minus 2 days, to get a skull cap replacement in. Danny has had 5 surgeries in the last year. Now we're fighting to get his life back.

Danny has aphasia, which means he has trouble talking, reading, and writing,devastating to a young man who had just finished law school. He wanted to be a defense attorney, to make a difference. Danny used to play the drums, but can no longer use his right arm. Danny walks with a limp, but he walks two miles every day.

Danny is our hero. He saved our daughter's life, but at a great cost. Danny loves sports. He played baseball, football, and soccer. He loved to read, and play the drums. He's lost it all.

His attacker was trained in the martial art tai chi. He brought a weapon called a skull crusher with him. He was sentenced to 21 years in prison for destroying a life and forever changing our family's lives.

I'm writing to ask for your help. Danny has Anthem insurance. They pay for 30 therapies a year. We got him on Medicaid, and they pay for 20 a year. Mercy Hospital is helping, but only for three therapies a week. We're told for Danny to get better he needs more, closer to 9 therapy sessions each week. He takes Speech, Occupational, and Physical therapy 3 times each week now. We're to send him to the University of Michigan UMAP program for speech. It's around $27,000 for 4-5 weeks of therapy, and his insurance doesn't pay for this. His doctors and therapists say he could need to go several times. Room and board for Danny and his caregiver (his dad will go with him) is not included in the cost. Neither is the cost of the other ongoing two therapies, physical and occupational.

I've never asked anyone for anything. My husband and I have worked since we were young teens, but I'm asking for help now. Can you help my son?

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and if you can offer any help or
ideas it will be greatly appreciated. 

Love to all,