By: Sharon Aron Baron
A Broward Sheriff’s Office Deputy facing a serious health challenge, is bringing local law enforcement, as well as members of the community, together to help through fundraisers and a GoFundMe page.
Coral Springs resident Tommy O’Keefe, 31, is battling Stage 4 Glioblastoma multiform, which is an aggressive malignant brain tumor. First diagnosed back in 2007, he was in remission for many years, however, the tumors came back in January and since then he’s been in and out of hospitals at least ten times.
“We’ve been to Duke [University Hospital] twice and I’ve been in contact with a number of institutions across the U.S. within the past month,” said his wife Jessica. “We’ve yet to travel to any other place besides Duke, but it’s in the works, and we’re in communication with doctors and other institutions, sharing his medical records to see if anybody has any treatment that would be of value to him.”
In January, Tommy, who has been with BSO for almost 13 years, has been unable to go back to his job with the Dania Beach BSO District Office as a Field Training Deputy.
Since then, Tommy’s world has been turned upside down said Jessica. “He’s still asking ‘when can I go back to work?’ This has been a complete blow to him because he’s so driven and such a go-getter. Granted, he’s getting valuable time with our daughter being home, but he’s not a homebody, he likes to be out there on the streets doing his job.”
Originally from South Florida, Jessica and Tommy both met when she was 15 and he was 16. He went to Western High School in Davie and she went to Flanagan in Pembroke Pines. They eventually moved to Coral Springs from Tamarac when they bought a single family home in 2011, the same year they were married. They are now the parents of nine month-old Mackenzie.
O’Keefe wouldn’t be more specific about the state of her husband’s health except that he is now home at the time, however, he is not permitted to work. She did state that he is a walking miracle because many people do not make it past a year with this diagnosis.
“I think it’s phenomenal all the support we have received from people within the BSO community and the community at large – people that we don’t even know are making donations.”
Through it all, Jessica said that Tommy has stayed positive despite the obstacles he faces. “He is a positive person. He has fought this before and he is determined to fight it again.”
The next fundraising event will be held at Wings Plus on Monday, May 25, from 5 p.m. – 11 p.m. at 9880 W Sample Rd, Coral Springs, FL 33065. This family event will include face-painting, balloon, karaoke and magic by Jimmy Rook. Wings Plus will be donating 20 percent of all proceeds to the O’Keefe family as well as having a 50 50 raffle.
“We love helping the Coral Springs community, and with my husband working for BSO, this is important not only to this Coral Spring family but to our BSO family,” said Manager Bridget DeVita.
If you cannot make this event you can donate directly to his GoFundMe page at Gofundme.com/tommyokeefefund which so far has raised over $42,000.