This is a story of success in life.
It is the story of persistence, but it is not about trading.
It is a personal story.
April 9, 1985
On April 9th, 1985, we arrived at the hospital for the birth of my fourth child. Everything was going as planned. I was even joking with the doctor. He asked what we were going to name our baby if it was a boy. I told him that a boy would be named Creighton.
He asked me why we chose Creighton as the name and I, jokingly, told him that we named him Creighton after Creighton University because we loved Omaha where Creighton University is located.
The doctor laughed and, then as Creighton was being born a moment later, everything in the operating room became deadly serious. Everyone was silent.
When I first saw Creighton, he was blue. I remember my other children being pink and healthy looking when they were newborns. Creighton was neither. Someone announced his APGAR reading was zero. I did not know exactly what it meant, but I knew it was not good.
Later that day, I sat in a room with another doctor looking at films of Creighton’s heart showing a life threatening defect. I was told that unless Creighton had an operation within 48 hours, he would probably not survive.
Creighton had the operation and over fifteen other operations in his first few years of life.
During this time, we were told Creighton would probably never walk, may never talk and may not live beyond early childhood.
My wife put everything on hold to devote full time to proving the doctors wrong.
She became an amazing advocate for Creighton – fighting for the right schools, the right doctors and working hard to make all of our lives as normal as possible.
When we moved to Chicago from Kansas City in 1988, Creighton became the patient of the only Chicago doctor anyone in Kansas City knew, the Head of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Children’s Memorial Hospital, Dr. Todd Davis.
Thanks to my wife’s persistence, our mutual belief in Creighton’s potential, and world-class medical care from Dr. Davis and Children’s Memorial Hospital, Creighton learned to walk, he learned to talk and he became a clever, loving child.
After graduating from high school, Creighton was intent on living on his own, like his older sister. We searched for appropriate residencial facilities that offered 24-hour medical supervision throughout Wisconsin and Illinois. The only acceptable places we found in Illinois had waiting lists lasting ten to twenty years. We did find one facility in Northern Wisconsin that was very nice and had an opening, but the cost was the equivalent of sending Creighton to Harvard every year for the rest of his life.
Then one day, Creighton called me from a weekend camp he was attending. He said, “Dad, I just won the lottery, I have found the place I want to live, Inspiration Ministries”. The next day we toured Inspiration Ministries and, just as Creighton had known, it was perfect.
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome
In July 2006, Creighton was taken by ambulance from his home, now at Inspiration Ministries in Wisconsin, to a local emergency room. As his condition deteriorated, he was taken to a small hospital, nearby.
Creighton’s lungs were filling with fluid and he was put on progressively more invasive breathing apparatus to keep him alive.
We knew that he would not live if he stayed in the small hospital in rural Wisconsin, so we resolved to move him to Chicago where he could get the world-class medical care he needed.
We called every doctor we knew in Chicago, but we were told that the Intensive Care Unit at Northwestern Hospital was filled to capacity and Children’s Memorial Hospital was not an option because Creighton was over twenty-one.
After many telephone calls over several critical hours, I got a call back from the doctor at Children’s Memorial who was filling in for the vacationing Dr. Davis. He told me that I would get a call in a few minutes from the Life-Flight Helicopter dispatcher to tell me when the helicopter would arrive in Elkhorn, Wisconsin to take Creighton to Children’s Memorial where, on the basis of their great compassion, they had agreed to take Creighton even though he was over twenty-one.
I will never forget the scene of the helicopter lifting off with Creighton, now in a coma, onboard headed toward his only chance for life, in Chicago.
Creighton spent three weeks in a coma, two months in Intensive Care and eight weeks at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago relearning to walk.
I lived with Creighton at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago for almost two months. He slept in the hospital bed and I slept (if you can call it sleep) in a chair next to him. We devised our own method of teaching Creighton to walk. Together, he and I would do what we called the “Crazy Person’s Walk”. It looked like Jackie Gleason’s “And away we go” walk, except sillier.
One time, we were practicing our walk and a doctor passing the room saw us. I don’t think the doctor could decide whether to laugh or call security, but opted to walk away without comment. After his release from rehab, we continued our work on perfecting the Crazy Person’s Walk and, in a few months, Creighton was back to normal.
As a New Year’s resolution in 2008, Creighton decided to get a job.
He applied at Wal-Mart and he applied at Goodwill.
The initial response from both was that they did not need anyone, but they would keep his application on file. Creighton persisted over the next five months in reapplying and reintroducing himself again and again to both Wal-Mart and Goodwill until one day, Goodwill said yes.
Creighton started at Goodwill almost a year ago. Since then, he has become even healthier and stronger. He has moved from assisted living at Inspiration Ministries to his own apartment. He is even learning to drive. Creighton is more independent, now, than we could have ever dreamed.
Goodwill was so proud of the progress Creighton made that he is featured in the Goodwill Annual Report, published a few weeks ago.
Creighton’s success is the story of persistence in the face of adversity. He has never looked at himself as limited in any way and, because of that belief and his perseverance, his horizons are limitless. As with my mentoring traders, as I have taught Creighton, I have learned from him and I have been inspired by him.
You can see Creighton’s story in the Goodwill Annual Report here.
All the best, Jeff