Glen Osborne family touched by outpouring of support in wake of son's spinal-cord injury

Kevin Kenny poses for a photo with his parents John and Carolyn at their temporary home in Bell Acres on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014. The family's Glen Osborne home is undergoing remodeling to better accomodate for Kevin who relies on a wheelchair after suffering a spinal-cord injury during a hockey game in November.
Kevin Kenny poses for a photo with his parents John and Carolyn at their temporary home in Bell Acres on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014. The family's Glen Osborne home is undergoing remodeling to better accomodate for Kevin who relies on a wheelchair after suffering a spinal-cord injury during a hockey game in November.
Photo by Kristina Serafini | Sewickley Herald
| Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

John Kenny said he never knew what the word overwhelming meant until his son Kevin, 20, suffered a spinal-cord injury while playing for the Pittsburgh Vengeance in a game against the Cleveland Jr. Lumberjacks on Nov. 16 last year.

“Now, I know what it means in every sense of the word,” Kenny said, “not just with the accident, but the generosity and kindness that has been extended to us. It's a debt that we could never hope to repay.”

His wife, Carolyn, agreed. Kevin has had donations from Sweden and Switzerland and received a prayer blanket from a Johnstown church.

“We are so grateful for the generosity of the hockey community and everyone. I get chills when I think about it. I can't tell you how heartwarming it is,” his mother said.

Kevin, a 2012 Quaker Valley graduate, said his hockey buddies and other friends visit him on a regular basis, just recently to play Monopoly, and his father said Kevin always is on the phone or texting friends.

During his second season with Vengeance — known for years as the Pittsburgh Jr. Penguins and part of the North American 3 Hockey League — Kevin had 16 goals and 29 assists.

In the 2011-12 season, the year before he joined Pittsburgh Vengeance, his Quaker Valley team captured the state title and the Class A Penguins Cup, with Kevin, as captain, scoring 18 goals and 39 assists.

There have been many fundraisers from numerous businesses, groups including his hockey team, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Sewickley United Methodist Church.

The latest fundraiser is a March 2 silent auction benefit, through Café des Amis and The Sewickley Cafe in Sewickley. John said he was “blown away” by the owners, who wanted to organize the fundraiser for Kevin.

Gina Frantz,owner of Café des Amis, said when she found out about Kevin's injury, she knew right away she wanted to do something for him. She then asked Don Reinhardt, owner of The Sewickley Cafe, to join her.

It's been almost three months since Kevin crashed into the boards during the first period of the game, underwent two major surgeries and suffered from pneumonia. He continues to recover in a wheelchair at the home of Paul and Mai-Lan Fagan in Bell Acres. The home has an exit that leads to the driveway, where Kevin's wheelchair can go right into a van purchased through donated funds. In the meantime, an elevator is being installed in the Kennys' home in Glen Osborne,where Kevin's room is upstairs.

All the support has made it much easier for the Kenny family to adjust and establish a new routine to take care of Kevin,” said John Kenny, who works for STAT MedEvac. Carolyn Kenny, who usually is with Kevin while his father works, is off from her job at Chevron Corp. after recent back surgery.

John Kenny said his son has made small, steady improvements since the accident. He now is able to breath on his own and eat on his own and has retained some movement and sensation in his hands, upper body and arms.

“With these injuries, it's difficult to tell how much recovery he will experience,” Kevin's father said. “The doctors say typically you get the best recovery from six months to two years. Right now, we get what we get and we make the most of that.”

Joanne Barron is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-324-1406 or jbarron@tribweb.com.

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