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Rotary Club raising funds to help Rocklin family

Oldest child battling Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
By: Gloria Beverage, Placer Herald Editor
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Four years ago, the Rocklin Fire Department responded to a call for medical assistance and met a family, whose oldest child is battling Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy., an inherited disorder that involved rapidly worsening muscle weakness. Dylan O?Connor, the son Phillip and Crystal O?Connor, had been diagnosed at age 6. By age 8-1/2, he was in a wheelchair and had lost most of his muscle strength. Over the years, Dylan has had numerous surgeries, including a spinal fusion where metal rods were put in his back in 2008, explained Rocklin Fire Chief Bill Mikesell. At age 17, Dylan is no longer able to stand or walk, has very limited use of his hands and arms. He relies on his parents, siblings and companion dog, Tess, to meet most of his needs. And yet, the high school senior is active with his church?s youth group, spends time on his computer and loves music. ?Phillip O?Connor is a hardworking dad who has experienced some cuts in his work schedule due to the downturn in the economy,? Mikesell said. ?Crystal O?Connor left her teaching position to be the full-time caregiver for their son.? A few years ago, the couple began a search for a van with a motorized lift so they could transport Dylan as well as his younger brother and three sisters. ?They were very thorough in searching for the best buy and found a used van,? Mikesell explained. ?However, they incurred a debt of nearly $32,000 with a $400 a month van payment. This has been a huge drain on their finances.? For the past 48 months, the South Placer Rotary Club, under the leadership of Chief Mikesell, has been raising funds to help the family pay off the van. Now they are holding a raffle for a week?s vacation over the Fourth of July holiday (June 29 to July 6) in Lake Tahoe. The winner will stay in a 2-bedroom, 2-bath condo in The Tower resort. The condo sleeps six and features two fireplaces, full granite kitchen, big screen TV and washer/dryer. The resort includes indoor/outdoor pools, hot tubs, sports courts, hiking, game room, movies, clubhouse activities, deli, restaurant, lunge and free shuttle service to downtown.. Each $20 donation, made payable to Hearts Without Borders, will receive one entry into the raffle, explained Colleen Mikesell. Contributions can be mailed to Rocklin Fire Chief Bill Mikesell, care of City of Rocklin Fire Department, 2650 Sunset Blvd., Rocklin, CA 95677. The drawing will be held on June 1. Proceeds from the raffle will be donated to Hearts Without Borders, a non-profit organization established to assist the O?Connor family. For more information, call Colleen Mikesell at (916) 771-7171 or visit DylanOConnor.org.