Cheryl Smith with her son, Connor.

Cheryl and Connor Find Their Home Away from Home

May 5 2021

In 2005, Cheryl Smith, her two children as well as other family and friends were involved in a catastrophic traffic accident. Her son, Connor, suffered a traumatic brain injury and was in a coma for months. Her daughter, Caitlin, suffered a spinal cord injury and was paralyzed.

Neighbors and friends flocked to show their support and offer prayers during the trying time. Today, Caitlin can walk, and Connor continues to make progress through multiple types of therapy.

Beginning in 2009, Connor and Cheryl traveled at least twice a year from their home in Roanoke, VA to Richmond, VA for various appointments and to participate in the Bon Secours Hope Therapy Center’s intensive program. The program includes three hours a day, five days a week, for three to four weeks.

Traveling far from home for intensive therapy is challenging, but Cheryl remained committed to Connor’s course of treatment. Initially, friends in the Richmond, VA area offered housing to the family, which helped to offset that stressor. Then, the Evelyn D. Reinhart Guest House opened its doors in 2014.

Soon after it’s opening, Cheryl and Connor visited the Reinhart Guest House with the Hope Therapy team who were volunteering to provide dinner for the families. Since then, it has been Connor and Cheryl’s new home away from home.

For Cheryl, having the Reinhart Guest House available is a “huge relief.” It is a place where the “warm, inviting” staff knows their needs and where local groups often provide delicious meals for the guests. Returning there after a long day of appointments is like coming “home,” a place with a hospitable environment where they can enjoy “a hot meal shared with caring and compassionate people.”

Connor and Cheryl bring a special joy to the Reinhart Guest House as well. Our staff members there have watched Connor grow up. He is always ready with a wide smile and enthusiastic greeting.

Connor’s speech has improved over the years; he prays before every meal and enjoys regaling staff and guests alike with anecdotes, such as how he got his first name from his grandfather. Connor’s faith is a light he shares with everyone at the Reinhart Guest House. He thanks God for giving him a second chance and prays to walk again one day.

Likewise, Cheryl exudes an undeniable strength and generosity of spirit. She can often be found providing guidance, compassion and hope to other families.

“God’s hand has been on us from the moment of the crash,” says Cheryl. “We feel His presence at the Guest House.”

Today, Connor aged out of Hope Therapy’s program. However, he is continuing his intensive therapy at Sheltering Arms Rehabilitation Center and still enjoys the Reinhart Guest House.

Learn about all the health care services we offer at Bon Secours.

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