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Good things do happen

December 23, 2009 - Mike Donahey

Good things do happen.
Many of us wish for them to happen at special times. For some Christians, Christmas is one of those occasions. For non-Christians, I would expect the same wishes occur on their special holidays. 
One good thing which is scheduled to happen tomorrow, weather permitting, is an Open House at Marshalltown’s Community Y for Mike McNamara and family from 3 to 5 p.m.
For those that don’t know, it was in April of this year when McNamara was found in a living-room recliner by his Mom. He was non responsive but breathing. The Marshalltown High School senior had fallen into a coma as the result of a brain injury contracted after an illness.
Before becoming ill he had a lot going on his life. He was an active young man participating in school, athletics and music. Next stop academically, was the University of Iowa.
He also worked part-time at the Community Y, where I met him shortly before he took ill. 
It was a Sunday and he was on duty. My wife and I were leaving after a workout and as a fellow Y employee, I wanted to tell him about a couple of kids who had been goofing-off in the men’s locker-room. The conversation then turned to our respective interest in fitness. I was struck with his ability to speak easily and confidently with an adult.
Things changed dramatically for him and his family when he became sick, including his speaking skills.
According to it was written, “he was taken by an ambulance to Marshalltown Medical & Surgical Center. Most of his organs had shut down and his heart was beating at an accelerated rate. His heart was beating so fast it was not pumping his blood efficiently so not enough oxygen was getting to his brains. He was suffering with Staphylococcus Auras Septic Shock, an infection which invaded his body because his immune system had been depleted fighting another infection. He did not have enough oxygen getting to his brain cells (resulting in) Anoxic Brain Injury.”
Afterwards, he was hospitalized for several weeks in acute care and on May 4 he was transferred to Ankeny’s On With Life rehabilitation center.
He has been there since, with occasional short trips away to visit family.
The open house marks a milestone for him and his supporters, which are legion.
It shows he is making progress from the debilitating illness. Over eight months, Mike has relearned how to talk, swallow and other skills the illness took away from him.
But the illness did not take away the faith, hope and love his family and friends felt for him.
People quickly got busy to help the McNamaras.
Among other things, a 5K run, a one-mile walk-run and a spaghetti supper have been held to help out with the significant medical expenses.
I had an opportunity to report on those positive and uplifting events. 
Faith. Hope. Love. Those words appeared on the many tee-shirts worn by runners and walkers event day July 26.
A family friend is looking ahead.
“He will be at the next run!,” wrote family friend Barb Holm-Ellis in an e-mail to me last month.
There is more good news.
According to the Dec. 18 posting on, it was written, “he is speaking in longer sentences, he says yes more often than he used to, is swallowing better and he seems more aware of what is going on.”
He is making other progress as well with the many medications, some highly potent.
As I wrote before, please pray, or continue to pray for McNamara and his family so good things continue to happen.


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