Welcome all Oprah fans. Thank you for visiting our website after reading the wonderful article in this month’s issue of O: The Oprah Magazine or finding us through Peter Walsh’s social media. I love that Jane Hofmann and Christine LeTourneau received this national recognition! These are two women who deserve it, as unselfish and humble as they are. Incredibly, it goes beyond these two, to the masses that helped make the event successful; not just once, but twice.
Oh, how I hope there’s a third time.[quote align=”center” color=”#999999″]A couple of years ago, Walsh received a remarkable e-mail from Jane Hofmann, 49, of Ashburn, Virginia. On a local blog, Jane had read about a then 21-year-old named Ryan Diviney who was in a coma after being beaten late at night (by Austin Vantrease and Jonathan May) outside a convenience store in Morgantown, West Virginia, where he was attending college. His family lived in Ashburn and was struggling to pay his medical bills. Though she’d never met the Divineys, Hofmann spoke to a friend, Christine LeTourneau, 47, who spoke to a few other friends, and soon they’d organized a massive yard sale of their town’s clutter, from clothing to toys to exercise equipment, furniture, and appliances—all to raise money for Ryan’s treatment.
– Oprah Magazine Excerpt [/quote]
For all the new readers here that took time to write to me, please know I will respond to each of you. Also know how much I appreciate all the kind words and joining “Team Diviney” because that is key in keeping my son relevant.
The one question that I get most often is “what happened to those men (although, most people use other words to describe them) that attacked Ryan. Well, in the scheme of things, not much as I see it. I suppose this is where I want to make my standard disclaimer that this is my opinion and the truth as I believe it, like no one would know this already.
Jonathan Matthew May (of Newark, Delaware) served just seven months of jail time and is now a free man. Austin Issac Vantrease (also of Newark, Delaware) is currently serving a felony sentence in the West Virginia State’s Huttonsville Correctional Center. Vantrease is expected to be released in around two-and-a-half years from now, serving just five years for a lifetime of harm. This is scary — at least to me — but he could actually be set free as early as this summer! If you want to help over 32,000 other people in keeping his ass in jail, please sign our online anti-parole petition.
Both are on the hook for roughly $100,000 in criminal restitution (jointly and severely). You probably guessed it, they are not stepping-up to this debt like normal, accountable people. Additionally, I filed a civil lawsuit (on behalf of my son) that is scheduled for trial this summer. Unfortunately, it seems a jury might need to impose accountability on them.
Enough about them, for today anyhow.
It is true that Ryan’s devastating injury has cost us so much. Financial hardship is just one of the elements, and it’s a big one. Without the support of caring people we never would be able to keep our head above water. Actually, it’s more like coming up for air when we can because we started gasping for breath years ago. But it’s more than this. It provides the resources to give Ryan comfort and treatment, breathable oxygen be damned! It allows him to keep trying to come back to us. It is a chance… against all odds.
It’s all the fundraisers, like the highly successful “Declutter for Ryan Diviney” event featured in O: The Oprah Magazine, that make the difference. Let’s not be too quick to forget that those accountable (i.e., Vantrease and May) seem noticeably absent from paying their full debt. I suppose if you’re interested enough to find your way to our website, then I can impose on you for one more thing. It’s the “Unstoppable Moms” contest being held by the Live with Kelly and Michael morning show that Team Diviney is promoting on my wife’s behalf. Please take a few minutes to read (and get entry information) here and nominate her.
You can see by now, there are many ways to help keep my son relevant. Many don’t involve money, but some do. The thing is, they are all important (and easy to do)! Please help where ever you can.