The O’Neill family is on the brink of financial collapse.
“Some of you know Mark O’Neill personally, but many of you know him by the joy and laughter that he brought through his creative comics about our beloved friars and Erla Knowlton, aka “the novena lady.” - Cindy (Menk ‘91) Welker.
“Mark O’Neill covets your prayers; he desperately needs your smiles, your understanding, your love, your help.” - Alice (Barry ‘90) Stewart.
Read his story and please consider donating!
"I have had anxiety and agoraphobia since I was a child. As a kid, I preferred that my friends come to my house to play. I often found myself hiding under stairwells and in empty classrooms during lunch or study hall; at just 12 years old, school became a prison. I was trapped, helpless, all the while not knowing why, but trying to live on, smile through it. In my late teens, the depression hit me like black tar, it poured over me, seeping into every aspect of my life, immobilizing my every thought or desire. I wanted nothing more than to fade away into nothing, doing nothing, being nothing. I finally sought medical help, but to no avail. Therapy couldn’t penetrate the tar and medication had no effect. I graduated high school and got a part time job. After a few months, the stress became too intense and the depression too heavy. I had to quit. Blessed with a creative eye, I was able to distract myself from the depression through projects of art or writing. They even brought me glimpses of joy, but they were over too soon, never lasting more than a couple of days, never turning into more than just the arts and crafts of a young boy. College was a chance for change, a chance to find God and help, a beacon of light through the sticky tar that constantly dragged me down. I knew this tar wasn’t me. I was funny, outgoing; I could make people laugh but never feel the joy myself. When sophomore year came around the depression became so severe, I was hospitalized for a week.
"Upon graduation, I moved home again and wholeheartedly cared for my mother, who had, since the 80’s, been suffering from osteoporosis . As her illness progressed, her bones continued to fracture and the stress of watching her suffer drove me to once again seek medical help, again to no avail; therapy continued to fail me and medication was ineffective. After 25 years of suffering, in 2007, my mother passed away. Only four months later, my father passed as well. Their efforts to provide for me lead to their taking a second mortgage on our family home, which I inherited upon their passing."
Ann, Mark’s loyal and steadfast wife, was a full-time teacher until just this year. The school where she dedicated 23 years to support her family, was closed and she, as a result, was laid off.
Mark struggles to this day to keep his family afloat through his freelance work as an artist. “My guilt and shame for not supporting my wife and son cannot be measured.”
Marks continued depression and anxiety are medically untreatable due to a genetic incompatibility, which was recently discovered via extensive genetic testing.
The bottom line is simple; the O’Neill family home is vulnerable to being lost. Mark, Ann, and their son, John, are in dire need.
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