Amid a nightmarish experience, the Concannon family is also experiencing some surprising — and welcome — generosity.
Last September, Ryan Concannon took a horrible spill on his bicycle. The 21-year-old UC Santa Cruz student spent more than a month in a coma at the San Jose Regional Medical Center ICU.
When his doctors wanted to transfer him to the Kentfield Rehabilitation Hospital, his family began the quest of finding housing to stay near him during his recovery.
This is when they found their first generous benefactor. Chris Smith of San Anselmo opened the doors of his 4,000-square-foot home to the boy’s mother, Patty Concannon — as well as sister Megan and family friend Natasha.
“My wife passed away 18 months ago,” Smith said. “It was a tough time.”
So Smith may have been looking for some companionship. But it was his dog that really needed a friend. Smith was planning an extended trip during the holiday season and was looking for a dog-sitter.
He said his only question to Megan Concannon was, “Does your mother know anything about golden retrievers?”
“Our family raised 2 goldens while the kids were growing up,” Concannon said. “I had a feeling the dog may be good therapy for me dealing with the shock of the accident. It was true — each day arriving home to a sweet pet and walking him daily were some of the best moments especially when the hospital days began blending into one another.”
Four months later, however, Smith is about to lose his guest lodgers. The Concannons are moving Ryan to Country Life Care, a facility in Utah, on Thursday, March 14.
“Utah offers him a neurological specialized step-down facility,” Concannon explained. “It's skilled nursing with neuro experience”
She said her son, like all trauma patients, will fare better in a quiet atmosphere with a balance of activity and rest.
“He is getting close to being stable enough to transfer, meaning he will not need a hospital setting surrounded, literally, with roommates [and] by beeping machines of all sort," Concannon said. "Ryan is not quite ready for full time rehab so this home will give him some time to continue to heal while supporting his neuro needs.”
Leaving is bittersweet for the Concannons. First, there was Smith’s generosity. Then there was the specialized treatment Ryan received.
“Kentfield has been an amazing place that offered so much help to Ryan,” Concannon said. “The doctors and nurses provided excellent care; graduating is bittersweet and sleeping in my own bed will be heaven!”
More generosity has found its way to the Concannons. A pilot has donated his time and the use of his Cessna aircraft and a nonprofit agency has agreed to cover the $30,000 it would have cost to make the move.
The generosity isn’t lost on the Concannons. Megan said, “We are extremely grateful for everyone who contacted us in November and offered us space in their home. I was not able to get back to everyone at the time and would really like to express our gratitude to the community.”
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