Connor’s Cause. Stick it to Producer Micah by making a donation and he’ll make a donation in your name.
Every day here at Grandex we make dreams come true. Readers like you submit videos, photos, stories, and more to us and we share them with the world. Every time we publish a video like this, this, or even a Fail Friday moment like this, we give you, the reader, a small amount of pride, notoriety, or even fleeting fame. We’re not changing the world here, but we are bringing joy, if only for a moment.
Now, imagine a time before Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat. On April 7, 2005, Facebook was called thefacebook and looked like this:
Something very special happened that day. Before there was even a single video on YouTube, and five full years before TFM existed, there was one destination to watch dumb videos on the internet: collegehumor.com. I don’t remember how you submitted or how they approved and posted content, but I do remember crowding around the KA house library computer to watch this video with half my pledge class:
Nope. No audio. That video was shot on a state-of-the-art camera, too. The video is titled, “Guy takes 13 shots in 20 seconds and lives to tell the story.” The caption reads: Everybody would be clapping if they didn’t have forties taped to their hands.
Eventually, you’ll know tragedy. Everyone does. I don’t write this to be morbid, but it’s simply a fact. It sounds corny, but fraternity brotherhood is a lifelong thing. I saw it growing up when my father’s fraternity brother had a health scare. The old fraternity guys came together. It was more than just a friend who needed help; it was a family duty — there was no second thought. Get in the car, hop on a plane — get there, be there, and do what you can.
We’ve all come together plenty of times since that College Humor video. The good times were celebrated at tailgates, Homecomings, bowl games, road trips, weddings, and bachelor parties. We were together for big life events: baby showers, baptisms, and the SEC Championship Game. We’ve lost some parents and other loved ones, but it’s been mostly celebrations since college.
That maniac in the College Humor video is my pledge brother Neil Voigt. He hasn’t popped his collar like that in a long time (2005 was a dark time for fraternity fashion). We call Neil “Boxhead” because his head is square. It’s really incredible. Anyway, Neil is quite a character. It’s always fun to be around Neil and his family. A few years back, Neil married way out of his league. Despite being a Kansas grad, his wife Whitney, a Kappa Kappa Gamma, is pretty much an angel — and you’d have to be to put up with Neil’s antics.
A couple years after the wedding, Neil and Whitey were expecting. So here’s where the story turns. From Connor’s Cause:
FOR MOST ANYONE, TUESDAY, APRIL 28TH, 2015 WAS A NORMAL DAY. HOWEVER, FOR US, ON THIS DAY AT 11:21AM OUR LIVES WERE FOREVER CHANGED, COURTESY OF A 7LB 14OZ HERO NAMED CONNOR RAYMOND VOIGT.
MONTHS BEFORE HIS BIRTH, WE LEARNED THAT CONNOR HAD SEVERE HYDROCEPHALUS (INCREASED CEREBROSPINAL FLUID ON THE BRAIN). IT WAS A CONDITION THAT WOULD REQUIRE SURGERY ON THE SECOND DAY OF HIS LIFE, AND IT WOULD BE THE FIRST OF MANY UNIMAGINABLE CONVERSATIONS TO COME. SOON ENOUGH, THOSE CONVERSATIONS WOULD SNOWBALL TO A CRESCENDO OF FEAR AND UNCERTAINTY.
Unimaginable. Through the diagnosis and the pregnancy, Neil and Whitney kept family and friends updated about the uphill battle to come. Connor and his family fought the Hydrocephalus and other complications. The Voigts put their lives on hold to find the best doctors and treatments for Connor. But there was more bad news.
AT THREE MONTHS OLD, CONNOR WAS DIAGNOSED WITH A RARE AND SEVERE FORM OF CONGENITAL MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY, KNOWN AS WALKER-WARBURG SYNDROME. A LIFE-LIMITING DISEASE WITH NO CURE, WALKER-WARBURG OPENED OUR EYES TO A NEW REALITY. A REALITY WE DIDN’T WANT TO ACCEPT.
There were more surgeries and more hospital stays, more email updates and group chats. The dreaded news came. Connor was gone.
THE FACT IS, CONNOR TAUGHT US MORE IN HIS SEVEN MONTHS ON THIS EARTH THAN MOST WILL LEARN IN AN ENTIRE LIFETIME. HE TAUGHT US THE TRUE MEANING OF BEING GRATEFUL, SHOWED US THE POWER OF STRENGTH AND LOVE, INSPIRED US TO HELP OTHERS IN SIMILAR SITUATIONS, AND IF THOSE WEREN’T ENOUGH, HE PAVED THE WAY FOR THE FUTURE OF HIS OWN FAMILY.
Tragedy had struck our KA family in a way it hadn’t before. We didn’t ask permission to take off work to travel to St. Louis or fill out any vacation request forms. There was a death in the family. Get in the car, hop on a plane. Get there, be there, and do what you can. People came from all over the country.
This weekend, we’ll come together again. Neil and Whitney created Connor’s Cause, a charity to honor Connor’s memory and help other families in need. Whether it’s donating meals or purchasing special needs equipment, the mission is to help families fight tragic diagnoses through local organizations. This Friday, on Connor’s birthday, we’ll come together to celebrate his life, and help others, at the first annual Connor Classic.
As unimaginable as Neil and Whitney’s story was, it’s a heartbreaking reality for parents all across the country, every day. Parents give up their jobs and put their careers on hold to take care of sick children who can’t take care of themselves. Hours are spent in hospital waiting rooms, and medical bills add up.
A $5 donation might buy an exhausted parent a much needed meal. A $50 donation could help buy equipment to help keep a child alive and make life easier for a desperate parent. $100. $500. Every dollar helps and all donations are tax deductible. Click here to donate. Plus, for every reader who donates, I’ll personally make a donation in your name. Just leave a banana emoji (or write TFM) and your name in the text form.
Click here to read more about Connor’s Cause.
Click here to donate..