The Connor Golden Fund
On July 3, Connor Golden, an 18-year-old from Fairfax, VA, vacationing with friends, stepped on explosive material in a tragic incident in New York's Central Park, mutilating his foot. His leg had to be amputated just below the knee.
Connor, a 2015 graduate of Oakton High School, with a promising career ahead of him, is an accomplished sound technician, musician, outdoors enthusiast, and Eagle Scout. His academic career includes Beginning Bridges preschool, Navy Elementary School, and Franklin Middle School. As a student at Oakton High School, he participated in Oakton’s Cougar Chorus for four years, while serving the performing arts department as the sound technician for major school and department functions. He just completed his freshman year at the University of Miami's Frost School of Music as an honors student studying Music Engineering.
This campaign has been organized by parents of the Oakton Chorus family who are asking you to please help the Golden family as they face extraordinary medical expenses in seeing Connor through his recovery.
Your donation will go directly to the Golden family. The family is deeply grateful for the outpouring of support and has issued a full statement, which can be viewed here .
Those who know Connor know him to be soft-spoken, extremely talented, dedicated to his craft, and always committed in his endeavors. Now, this is your opportunity to show your support and make a difference. Thank you!
How Your Donation Will be Used
Donations are intended to provide funds that are incremental to any other funds that may be available to Connor from other sources. No portion of any donation is intended to be used or applied to reduce or offset any benefits to which Connor Golden would otherwise be eligible or entitled from other sources such as medical insurance, monetary recovery from the perpetrator(s) , or crime victim funds (e.g., any funds that may be available through the New York Office of Victim Services).
In a world that continues to see violent acts become everyday occurrences, Connor’s mom Carol is exercising her voice in calling upon authorities to question the nature of the heinous act that claimed Connor’s leg.
In a letter to the editor of the New York Times, published online Sunday, November 12, and in print on Monday, November 13, Carol poses an important question: What is terrorism? A link to her letter is here: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/12/opinion/terrorism.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fopinion-letters
The family has also started a petition via Change.org asking the FBI to treat Connor’s case as an act of terrorism, pursuing it with the same vigor and diligence that declared acts of terrorism have received. Please consider signing the petition here: https://www.change.org/p/investigate-the-2016-central-park-explosion-as-an-act-of-terrorism
Connor continues his studies at the University of Miami, weathering Hurricane Irma with classmates in a safe location out of harm’s way. He looks forward to spending the holidays with family and extends his deepest gratitude for the continued support shown by this community.
The recent conviction of the perpetrator of the September 2016 Chelsea bombing incident in New York prompts this update to the Connor Golden Fund GoFundMe community.
First, to anticipate a question you may have, Connor is doing well as he continues studies at the University of Miami. Connor continues to adapt to his active lifestyle with a prosthetic leg. He finds great comfort by pouring himself into music and recently performed at a music tech festival hosted by the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.
The conviction of the Chelsea bomber is a stark reminder that the criminal(s) responsible for the earlier Central Park explosion that claimed Connor’s leg on July 3, 2016, are still at large and pose a continuing threat to public safety. Shockingly, city officials failed to convey any urgency to the public at the time of the explosion. Quite the opposite, they proactively downplayed the crime in advance of NYC’s 4th of July celebrations, squelching public motivation to come forward with leads to help solve the investigation. However, tweets and statements from NY officials to this week’s guilty verdict in the September 2016 Chelsea bombing trial, shown with this update below, suggest a different level of commitment.
In Connor’s case, a full year had passed before city officials really started sounding the alarm bells. Only then was a $40K award announced and officials finally acknowledged that the incident was not a fireworks mishap, but rather involved TATP, the same compound used in the horrific Paris, Brussels, and England bombings.
As police continue to seek leads, the family has taken to social media using hashtags #justice4connor and #centralparkexplosion as rallying points in supplementing investigative efforts. Now is the time to hold NY authorities accountable for the downplaying of the July 2016 #centralparkexplosion and to help catch the perpetrator and bring #justice4connor. As many in this GoFundMe community are New York residents, your assistance in continuing to keep this ongoing investigation active through social media or simple conversation may be critical in yielding clues to assist authorities. Police continue to seek photos or video of Central Park in the days and weeks leading up to and including the July 4th 2016 weekend. An image someone has on their phone could be the turning point authorities need. Feel free to share this message through your social channels. Thank you!
Just this week, NYPD held a press conference to renew efforts in seeking new leads in this case, which has remained a baffling mystery. During the press conference, they announced an increase in the reward—now $40,000—for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrator.
Police are seeking any photos or videos individuals may have on their phones, cameras, etc., which may help in constructing a timeline of the incident. If you or anyone you know were anywhere in or by Central Park in the days leading up to the July 3, 2016 explosion and have photos, videos, or any information that might provide clues, please contact police here: http://nypdnews.com/2017/06/centralparkreward/
The Goldens thank the numerous media outlets who got word out about the renewed efforts by investigators. They wish to share some of the coverage with you:.
WNBC New York’s I-Team reporter Chris Glorioso: http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Central-Park-Explosion-Connor-Golden-Amputate-Leg-July-2016-Investigators-New-Information-Press-Conference-431245753.html
NBC Network News reporter Stephanie Gosk: http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Central-Park-Explosion-Connor-Golden-Amputate-Leg-July-2016-Investigators-New-Information-Press-Conference-431245753.html
WJLA-TV reporter Jeff Goldberg: http://wjla.com/news/local/father-speaks-1-year-after-son-lost-part-of-his-leg-in-new-yorks-central-park-explosion
NYPD Press Conference: https://www.pscp.tv/NYPDnews/1lPJqymlPkbJb?t=5 (press the arrow to activate the video, and you may need to unmute to get sound)
This experience has been life-altering for the entire Golden family, making them acutely aware of the challenges faced by those, like Connor, who are part of the limb loss community. To advocate for their needs including the assurance of adequate health care, the Goldens recently visited with U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Comstock. As the health care debate continues on Capitol Hill, the Goldens are extremely grateful to all of those who have written to their legislators recently.
Now, as summer gets into full swing, you will be happy to learn that Connor recently was fitted for a waterproof athletic prosthesis. It will enable him to engage in more rigorous activities such as running, hiking and water sports. He was able to purchase this prosthesis because of your donations through this campaign, and he is looking forward to doing some windsurfing in the coming days.
Please share links about the police investigation with your social networks, particularly alerting anyone who may have clues, such as pictures or any eyewitness accounts, that may aid police. Use the link above to contact police with information.
Thanks again from the Goldens for your continuing support and generosity.
I am so happy to hear Connor is home. Home is where the healing continues and will be complete! Best wishes to a great young man who has a wonderful family and community to help with moral support and other support. I hope there will be a local neighborhood opportunity to meet and great Connor when he is feeling better. Bernice
Much sympathy for Connor and sincere best wishes for the continued improvement of his use of the prosthetic limb. While this incident is so sad, it is at least inspiring and encouraging to witness Connor's courage and fortitude in facing this adversity. I hope he finds both the rest and the energy he needs to persevere. I also really, really hope they bring the perpetrator of this crime to complete justice.
The links provided to contact legislators are dead ends~ no page found. Keep up the good work, Connor. So proud of you!
confused as to why medical would not be covered under crime victims. are they saying no crime??!!
So happy to see Connor getting on with his life. It's a disgrace how insurance companies give so little consideration to quality of life issues. Having worked as an RN for 35 years, I know how important specialized equipment is to improved function and well-being. Wishing God's blessings on Connor, his family and friends to continue!
So glad to see Connor doing well, and seemingly at peace with the incident. I do want to make two corrections, however. Namely, as of today, police still do not believe a crime had occurred so no arrest is warranted. The reward then is merely for information, regardless of whether there is an arrest. The official word is, is was likely an "experiment with fireworks or homemade explosives," with no intent to harm. Apparently, the experiment failed to detonate so the bag was simply left there as garbage, in a place that people don't normally go. Regardless, the Goldens should hire an insurance attorney to sue United Healthcare. Just the threat of bad publicity may get them to change their mind.
I'm heartened to see your picture. I live close to the Park entrance and actually, although you're obviously a stranger, think of you and that accident every time I pass the site. I am all too familiar with the vagaries and unfairness of insurers as my wife endured a difficult and prolonged illness for five plus years. I'm not enough of an optimist to think that what happened to you happened for a reason but neither am I enough of a pessimist to believe that you won't make better music as a result of your life experience. I read a quote recently from Bob Dylan that what he most enjoys is the spaces between the notes, because they give him a chance to create and express himself. Here's to happy "spaces" to come for you. Mel
Hello Connor sending you the best wishes for a full recovery. You may think this is the end of the world but please let me tell you about my husband Chuck Bryant. After a motorcycle accident He was an amputee like you, below the knee, in 1984. You can read about him on the Wikipedia Marathon article under multiple marathons. He was the first - and I think still only - amputee to complete the 50 & DC circuit, one in each state plus DC. Don't give up. Chuck had a wonderful life and nothing held him back until this year, he passed away from cancer unrelated to the amputation. He loved to talk to and meet people in his situation and he really gave them hope. I hope this helps you a little, and I hope you stay strong and carry on with a full and active life. Here's the excerpt from the Wikipedia article : Over 350 individuals have completed a marathon in each state of the United States plus Washington, D.C. and some have done it as many as eight times. Beverly Paquin, a 22-year-old nurse from Iowa, was the youngest woman to run a marathon in all 50 states in 2010. A few weeks later, still in 2010, Morgan Cummings (also 22) became the youngest woman to complete a marathon in all 50 states and DC. In 2004, Chuck Bryant of Miami, Florida, who lost his right leg below the knee, became the first amputee to finish this circuit. Bryant has completed a total of 59 marathons on his prosthesis.
Conner, I'm so glad to hear you're recovering and up and around. You're a very brave young man and I think of you often. Best, John
Challenged Athletes Foundation
Connor - hope this comment finds you well.Like you, I am an outdoor enthusiast, graduate of a Fairfax school, and Eagle Scout. Every year, I participate in an event whose sponsoring organization provides resources and mentorship to people with physical challenges, so they can pursue active lifestyles through physical fitness and competitive athletics.I have met so many amazing people who have been impacted in so many different ways. You may want to check out their website, youtube videos, or contact CAF directly (or me). Good luck with your recovery, Rick Barnard
Connor, Continuing to wish you all the best as you head back to school. We know you will go on to do great things!
Glad to see that the contributions now far exceed the original target, but more is still needed. Most importantly, we hope that Connor's treatment and rehab are moving along smoothly, and that real progress is in sight. Again, "chin up": Life was momentarily mean but it will get better and so will you Connor. Best wishes from this New Yorker.
A message to Connor - I am a left leg below the knee amputee(November 5, 2015 was my surgery) due to a rare form of cancer. I know it was very helpful to me to speak with other amputees. If you have any questions or would just like to talk(I know exactly what you are going through), please pm me on Facebook for my email & number. I hope I can help, I know how great it is for me to speak with other amputees. My Facebook name is Lesley Sara
So sorry your trip to NYC was a memory like it was. May you heal quickly, find strength in everyday & remember that no matter what happens in life people & strangers do care & are praying for you. All the BEST!