Danny Keefe's football team came to his rescue when he was teased about his speech impediment. Now he needs our help because insurance doesn't cover his essential speech therapy.
Shortly after birth, Danny Keefe suffered a brain hemorrhage that left him with a speech impediment so severe that the meticulously dressed six-year-old found himself being teased and picked on in kindergarten… but, not for long, because Danny’s friends on the Bridgewater Badgers 5th grade football team had his back. They didn’t rough anybody up, which one might have expected.
Instead, they put on a display of solidarity and brotherly love that moved an entire community, and started a movement that quickly spread to surrounding towns.
Now, Danny and his family need our help because their health insurer only covers a fraction of the cost of the intense therapy Danny’s condition requires.
Danny “Danimal” Keefe is like any other six-year-old boy, only different.
He loves sports, especially football, he loves school and he loves his family and friends. Danny’s sense of style is certainly different – he prefers a jacket & tie, shoes and a fedora. Danny always looks sharp, but he rarely looks like a typical kindergartener.
He also doesn’t sound like one. You see, shortly after birth, Danny Keefe suffered a severe brain hemorrhage that left him with Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS), a motor speech disorder that prevents his brain from coordinating properly with the muscles that create speech. Danny is very intelligent and knows what he wants to say, but the message gets "lost" on its way from his brain to his mouth and, because of that, he is difficult to understand.
He may be difficult to understand, but he is very easy to love.
His parents, Jen and Mark, proudly describe Danny as “one of the most determined, hard-working, happy guys we have ever met.”
Teasing begins quickly, but ends abruptly
Some kids at Danny's school began teasing him about the way he talks. They taunted Danny with “Come on, talk. Just talk! Why don’t you talk?” They snatched his hat to play keep-away, and even dumped dirt and mulch in his hair. Though only six years old, Danny endured a tough start to his first school year.
Until Danny's older brother Tim, a member of the Bridgewater Badgers football team, told his friend (and team quarterback) Tommy Cooney that his little brother was being picked on at school. As word quickly spread to the rest of the team, they decided to take matters into their own hands. Danny is, after all, the team’s “water coach.”
Now, you might expect 45 fifth grade football players, mad that one of their own was being picked on, to respond harshly, matching (or exceeding!) the cruelty their friend had endured. But these boys chose a more impactful approach: they organized “Danny Keefe Appreciation Day” on November 20, 2013, and every one of them wore a suit to school that day.
The football players’ display of love and solidarity earned them praise in their community, and several visits from Boston’s major television news stations.
The System throws the Keefe family a curveball
Managing and treating Danny’s condition takes a lot of work, and puts a significant burden on the family, albeit one Danny’s parents Mark and Jen (and their three other children) never complain about.
A child with CAS requires three to five hours of intense speech therapy each week. That’s 150-250 hours per year. But, the Keefe's health insurance only covers $1,500 a year, or about 12 hours of therapy, leaving the family to shoulder the rest of the burden as best they can.
To help the Keefe family, a group of friends and neighbors have set up this website to provide an opportunity to donate to a fund that will provide for Danny and the other Keefe children, who love their brother unconditionally.
We hope you’ll help.
The Danny Keefe Fund is coordinated by friends of the family to help provide an avenue of assistance for those who wish to contribute.
Donations are collected via WePay and deposited directly into a special bank account at Bridgewater Savings Bank.
100% of the donations collected via this campaign will be disbursed to the Keefes to cover the costs of speech therapy for Danny, as well as other appropriate expenditures at the family's discretion.
You may also donate by mailing a check payable to "Danny Keefe Fund" c/o Bridgewater Savings, 14 Main Street, Bridgewater, MA 02324.
For media questions about the Keefes, please contact Larry Marchese: lmarchese [at] legionthirteen.com.
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