Our mom's life changed on July 11th, 2018. What started with pain in her neck and her usual "I'm fine", led to an admittance later in the day to the emergency room, followed by three weeks in ICU with an assigned pulmonologist, infectious disease specialist, cardiologist, and neurologist, a hospital change, an emergency spinal surgery, and a recent transition to the Neurology Floor at Riverbend Hospital in Oregon.
Who She Is:
Our mom, Jan O'Donnell, went from being a nurse at Riverbend, to a patient. For over forty years she has been present at thousands of deliveries, and given countless hours of herself, her time, and her expertise to families, all while doing the very same for her family. She went from being one of the most vigorous, active, joy-filled women one could know, to relying on a ventilator and tube feedings, and having limited, if any, mobility in her arms and legs. Our rock, the leader and mother of 8 children and 28 grandchildren is needing her community to give back to her at the same level she gave them.
There is simply no way to convey who my mom is and what she represents in a few paragraphs. She was working up until the day she was admitted into the hospital, not willing to stop for anything. She is a wife of 53 years to my dad, Dennis O'Donnell, who is facing the reality that the love of his life is gravely ill, facing potential paralysis, living from one moment to the next. She is the mother of 8 children, to each having poured her unconditional love, support, energy, time and faith into. She is the grandmother of 28 beloved grandchildren, all of whom are valued and doted on in only the way a grandmother can do. She is a Labor and Delivery Nurse, a parishioner and dedicated member of Saint Mary's Catholic Church, a gardener, a skilled quilt-maker, the best baker of apple pie, and a champion of family, God and giving.
Our mom has undergone a tormented and painful month. Every day has been grueling. Every day has ended with the unknown of what tomorrow will bring. While we are a family of faith and endurance, we are being tested in every way possible right now, for Mom was always the one we would go to for answers. And now we only have questions. Mom is going to need months, if not years of medical treatment, physical therapy, medications, and professional care-taking assistance. My dad is reeling at the same time, facing his own medical issues given the stress this has placed on his heart. He is lost without mom. We, as children, feel like we are losing them both, and we will not give up on them. They never gave up on any of us.
What We are Seeking:
As a family, we have met to discuss immediate needs. With overwhelming medical costs, loss of work, and a long road ahead in recovery, we are seeking support from our community and beyond to help. My dad fears he will lose the house they share, the one where he drives over 45 minutes to each night because "that is where Mom is". He kisses her wedding day photo goodnight each night. He walks around in circles not knowing what to do, where to go, or how he will manage. He breaks down sobbing daily. We have never seen our strong-willed "Da" so vulnerable. We need help to cover current bills that my mom took care of (house payment, food, prescriptions), and the inevitable crushing weight of medical bills that are already starting to come. Mom and Da have never hesitated to help anyone in their lives, even when it put them in a position of vulnerability, and we are looking for people to love on them in the same way they have for so many, for so long.
So many have already reached out to check in with my dad and us children. We have felt an outpouring of love and support from their friends, family, religious family, and co-workers. We are grateful for the meals cooked, the groceries dropped off, and the words of encouragement. We are also so grateful for the lifting up in prayer each day, the masses dedicated, the adoration hour intentions, and the loving text messages. As a family we are proud, Irish, stubborn at times, and emotional powerhouses. We struggle in asking for help. We need help.
This is an urgent matter. Things are unraveling quickly, as my mom handled everything, and we are trying desperately to pick up the pieces while keeping Da afloat. He knows things will be different. He only wants to bring mom home, no matter what that looks like. We want him to have a home to bring her back to.
DonationsSee top donations
- Addie Lou Willis
- John Brandhagen
- Debra Mayberry
Fundraising team: O'Donnell Family (3)
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