Fort Mill resident Conner Goldhammer has one goal in mind for his sixth birthday – to walk on his own.
Born with brittle bone disease, Conner has suffered more than 100 bone breaks in his life, his mother Denise Goldhammer said. Despite his challenges, Conner aims to be able to keep up with his twin sister and three other siblings.
“I need to walk more,” he said.
Goldhammer said her son works nearly every day with both private and in-school therapists.
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“I’m so proud of him,” she said. “His determination is over the top.”
Goldhammer is now sharing her and Conner’s journey in her new book, “Perfectly Imperfecta,” which she hopes will encourage other families to never give up hope.
“He has inspired a lot of other people,” she said. “Always fight for what you think is best for your child.”
Last September, Goldhammer connected with All Things Possible Ministries, a Fort Mill-based nonprofit pairs individuals, ministries and churches with those in need. The organization raised more than $13,900 for Conner’s wheelchair and medical expenses.
After Conner suffered a fall that shattered his skull and resulted in a brain bleed last February, the wheelchair became a necessity, but was not covered by insurance, Goldhammer said. The hydraulic-equipped chair allows Conner to do things like wash his hands without breaking his ribs, giving his family some peace of mind.
“It has definitely been a sense of security,” Goldhammer said. “I couldn’t image what we would be doing if we didn’t have that chair.”
While he still has bone breaks, Goldhammer said the chair has given Conner some independence. He continues to do aqua therapy, one of his favorite activities, and attends Sugar Creek Elementary School with his sister.
“Things are going really well,” Goldhammer said.
While in school, Conner uses a manual wheelchair in the classroom and a power chair outside the classroom to ensure he doesn’t get fatigued and can reach taller tables, Goldhammer said. The Permobil Koala power wheelchair features an elevating footplate that was just approved by the FDA.
Conner will have the first of this type of chair with an electric footplate in the U.S., Goldhammer said. Conner is borrowing the chair from the vender until they hear back about insurance coverage. If they get the power chair covered, Goldhammer said they will need to pay out of pocket for Conner’s manual chair, which he has outgrown.
Goldhammer’s book details all the challenges, triumphs and fears from the moment she became pregnant and learned of Conner’s condition at seven months. It details the surgeries and accidents Conner has endured, as well as the helping hands like All Things Possible that have been there through it all, Goldhammer said.
The book is dedicated to many who have helped along the way, including Lisa Sexton, executive director of All Things Possible Ministries, who remains in contact with the family.
“Being able to be a resource for these families is awesome,” she said. “All of the joy is in giving.”
Goldhammer said she wants parents of children with any type of disability or challenge to know they are not alone.
“It’s a way to let other families know there is hope,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be that doomsday diagnosis.”
For Conner, having brittle bone disease did not damper his spirit.
“He’s full of life,” Goldhammer said. “He’s Mr. Personality.”
Amanda Harris - @amanda_d_harris
Want to go?
Denise Goldhammer will be featured at a book signing for “Perfectly Imperfecta” 5-9 p.m. Oct. 14 at Buffalo Wild Wings, 14157 Steele Creek Road (follow S.C. 160 West), Charlotte.
Goldhammer will sign copies of her book detailing her life raising Conner Goldhammer, 5, who was born with brittle bone disease. Conner will also be present. The restaurant will donate 10 percent of proceeds that night to Conner’s care.
The book can also be purchased on Amazon and at perfectlyimperfecta.com. All proceeds benefit Conner Goldhammer’s medical expenses.