A FAMILY MEMBER
We are all brothers and sisters as children of God's family.
Family defines us. Not just our nuclear family or our extended family, but all types of family.
Our classmates at school become family as do our teammates in sports. The people you work with are family. Your neighbors often become family. Some even vacation at the same place and time each year and see familiar faces that are also considered family.
And, of course, one of the staples at every wedding is to have members from both the bride and groom's side get on the dance floor, arm in arm and singing WE ARE FAMILY!
As the quotes suggests, family means being present to support and help those in need. One such member of the Saints Peter and Paul School family is Colleen Tyrrell Llacsa '96. Some of you may know the Tyrrell family through her, or as classmates and friends of her siblings Katie '91, Matt '98, and Tim '93. Others were, perhaps, patients of Dr. Tyrrell and are enjoying a wonderful quality of life due to his care.
Colleen, and her husband Jahary, whom she met on a mission trip to Bolivia have three children. Samuel is 6, Lucy Jane is 4, and Joshua is 2. Shortly after giving birth to Joshua, Colleen began to experience failing health. She dealt daily with severe headaches, nausea, and exhaustion. After visiting numerous doctors she was eventually diagnosed with a CSF leak.
A Cerebral Fluid Leak (CSF) results when the fluid around the brain (called cerebral spinal fluid) leaks through a hole through the skull bone. Sports fans may be aware that Golden State head coach, and former Bull, Steve Kerr was diagnosed with CSF after a back surgery two years ago. His pain was so severe he had to miss many regular season and playoff games over that span.
Actor George Clooney, while performing his own stunts during the filming of
Syriana in 2004, suffered a severe spine injury, which caused a tear in the dura mater, the sheath encasing protective cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) around the nerves of the spinal cord and brain. The resulting CSF leak caused debilitating headaches, which at one point led him to contemplate taking his own life to escape the agony.
Back to Colleen. In the past two years she has consulted with doctors at Duke University, Stanford, Northwestern, and Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles. To date, the results after several surgeries have been negligible. The toll it has taken on her and Yari physically, emotionally, and financially is immeasurable.
Not only are she and Jahary paying for these medical trips from their own savings, but the family also has a great need for childcare assistance when Jahary is at work as a mortgage banker at Naperville Bank & Trust.
"A typical day for my sister," said Katie, "might allow for her to have about a half hour to interact with her children or do an errand before she must return to bed for comfort due to experiencing severe headaches and exhaustion."
Friends of the family have reached out and will be hosting a fundraiser for the Llacsa family at the Meson Sabika restaurant on Thursday, August 17. Tickets are $100 per person and includes tapas, two drink tickets, and a donation to the family.
People know what babysitters cost but this situation is even more demanding. "My sister requires someone from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm on weekdays," Katie added, "not only to take care of the children but also for things like shopping, cleaning, and washing clothes."
For those who cannot attend the August 17 fundraiser, you can still help by sending a check to Naperville Bank & Trust, 555 Fort Hill Drive, Naperville 60540. Be sure to include Colleen Tyrrell Llacsa's name in the memo line.
One of the hallmarks of family is rallying around those in need. Think of the outpouring of love and donations that George Bailey experienced in the final scene of
It's A Wonderful Life. People gave from their heart and widow's mite.
Now is the time for the Saints Peter & Paul family to open their hearts and wallets to help Colleen. It's the natural thing to do because she is one of us.