Sean McMullen in his hospital bed surrounded by his children, Donovan, Kieran, Cassidy and Bailey. An online fundraising effort was established after McMullen suffered a spinal stroke in February.Photo courtesy of McMullen family
By Peter Jones
When Sean McMullen suffered an unexpected spinal stroke in February, it did not take long for word to spread through the south metro community.
In part, that was because McMullen is the 43-year-old son of John McMullen, the co-owner of Collajio Salon and Day Spa and an active member of the DTC/Greenwood Village Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber is among the organizations and local residents who have joined forces in an online effort to support the McMullen family through difficult times.
A spinal stroke is a rare condition in which blood flow to vessels feeding the spinal cord is interrupted, potentially causing paralysis.
Sean’s stroke came as a surprise to the family and doctors. He remains paralyzed – hopefully, temporarily – from his mid-stomach down.
“No one knows what his prognosis is,” John said. “The entire family has high hopes that there will be recovery, but if you ask the professionals they really don’t know if there will be a recovery – and if there is a recovery, to what extent or how long it will take.”
In the meantime, the McMullens’ financial needs will be great as the family substantially renovates Sean’s home to accommodate his wheelchair. He will also need to undergo significant outpatient rehabilitation. Sean’s car will have to be retrofitted for hands-only driving so he can eventually go back to work.
“His bills are going to be absolutely horrendous,” John said. “Nothing is cheap when it comes to this experience.”
To help pay the laundry list of expenses, an online fundraiser has been established on the website www.youcaring.com. At press time, the campaign had raised nearly half of its $40,000 goal.
The chamber of commerce – for which John has been a long-time volunteer – got involved by circulating the link in an email blast to its more than 300 members.
“The chamber community is pretty tightknit,” said John Herbers, the organization’s president. “We spend a lot of time trying to help one another in the business community and John’s always been there for us.”
John McMullen said he is grateful for all the outpouring of support.
“My son has truly become my hero in that the resolve that he and wife Colleen have shown through this is just absolutely marvelous,” he said. “It is extremely critical that they stay as positive as possible, if for no other reason than their four children.”
To donate, visit www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/help-sean/49297.
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