Community responds to lad’s plight

In the space of a few hours, the Grinnell family went from needing almost all of $2,200 to provide a prescribed piece of medical equipment for their seven-month-old to having more than the full amount provided by the generosity of people in the community.

When the Times Observer spoke with Allison Grinnell on Wednesday, she said the family needed $2,200 for a cranial shaping helmet for baby Caden.

The full amount was covered by Thursday morning. “So many people were so awesome to step up,” Grinnell said. “That was awesome. I’m really happy.”

Among the $2,350 given by Thursday afternoon was a large lump sum from an anonymous source.

“I just wish I could find out who the anonymous donors were so I could jump and give them a big old hug,” Grinnell said. “We appreciate it so much.”

Caden has torticollis – a weak muscle in his neck – that has led to plagiocephaly – a flat spot on his head.

If the plagiocephaly persists through the time when Caden’s skull hardens to a permanent shape, it could have long-term impacts, including brain damage in the worst case.

Doctors at Shriners Children’s Hospital of Erie recently prescribed the helmet, but the Grinnell’s insurance would not cover the equipment.

In an effort to raise the money, a account was set up in Grinnell’s name under the title Baby Caden’s Helmet Fund.

The first donations appeared on Monday, Aug. 5 – an anonymous $20 and $10 from “Bridget”, who said, “He’s super cute and deserves the best! Good luck!”

On Thursday, four new donors appeared and the list was growing even after the full amount had been reached.

“Karen” gave $20.

Then, the donations grew dramatically.

“Amy Nordstrom” contributed almost one-tenth of the whole amount – $200, saying, “I wish you luck with your beautiful baby!”

“Anonymous in Erie, PA” sent along the message “I wish you and your child the best” with a donation of $2,000.

“Jan from Warren Peds” added $100 and the note, “I love this little guy and hope he gets his helmet!”

The progress bar stood at 100 percent late Thursday morning with a total $2,250 raised out of a target of $2,200.

Caden was in Erie for measurements for his helmet on Thursday.

A casting of his head was made, and he didn’t care for it. “They said the receptionist could hear him,” Grinnell said.

That casting will be sent to a licensed laboratory and the helmet will be ready for Caden in about two weeks.

Grinnell said the doctors informed her that Caden may need another helmet once he outgrows the first.

She’s focused on the big step taken Thursday. “I’m not even going to worry about that,” she said.