Updates on Johnny Rokos and Conor Rigan | Old Mission Gazette Photo
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(Got news? Send it to me, [email protected]. -jb)

As many of you know by now, Johnny “Rock” Rokos, the longtime bartender at Peninsula Grill, suffered a Hemorrhagic stroke with severe brain bleeding on Jan. 31, 2023. After many days in ICU, he was moved to the stroke floor at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City. On Feb. 9, his daughter, Jennifer Rokos-Crampton, reported on a Facebook page created for updates, that his medical team was waiting for the brain swelling to go down so they could evaluate the extent of the damage. This could take several weeks.

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On Feb. 16, his daughter, Amy Rokos Bell, said that Johnny underwent a successful surgery to insert a feeding tube. While he is still having difficulty with speech and is unresponsive to commands, both daughters have reported that he is able to say a few words here and there.

At this point, no visitors are allowed other than immediate family. “We understand that so many people would love to visit, but right now if Dad so much as gets an infection or cold, he won’t make it,” they said. “And we would like to respect that this isn’t how he would like people to see him.”

Once he is moved to an outpatient nursing/rehabilitation facility and is more stable, visitors will be welcome, they said. In fact, visitors will be a valuable asset to this recovery. Once that happens, they will create an online sign-up form so that visitors don’t show up all at the same time. They so appreciate all the love and prayers for Johnny and their family as he begins his long road to recovery.

Contribute to a GoFundMe page for Johnny’s recovery here.

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Johnny Rokos, Friendly Bartender at Peninsula Grill | Jane Boursaw Photo

Meanwhile, Conor Rigan, Patrick and Sarah Rigan’s little boy who is undergoing treatment for a brain tumor at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, was taking everything in stride at the beginning of the trial. But Sarah says things have gotten more challenging, especially as she and Patrick try to divide their time between Conor in Cincinnati and their girls at home.

She writes on their CaringBridge Journal

“Last Sunday night, I was flying home, excited to see the girls, proud of Conor for breezing through the first week with no complications. I had no worries that he would struggle while I was away, but unfortunately he came down with another cold. Conor had a fever, upset stomach and sore throat which caused his tonsils to become swollen. He had a couple mishaps where the pill got “stuck” and hurt going down. Since then, Conor has been extremely reluctant to take his medicine.

“Patrick and our amazing family friends have done everything they can to ease his mind and help him overcome this new fear. Once Conor finally gains the courage to swallow the pill, it’s gone in a second, but it has taken many different tactics and sometimes up to an hour and a half to convince him to try. They have all been so patient and calm throughout it all. Even Conor’s big sister, Tenley, tried to persuade him with promises of treats and trophies for her brave brother. He diverts, refuses, cries, and runs away.

“It’s truly heartbreaking to watch through FaceTime as he fights it, when just a week ago, taking his pill was no big deal. After two hours of trying last night, he missed his first dose. We are sick over it, but trying not to panic. Each new day we act as if yesterday’s struggle never happened, but if it continues, we will not be able to sustain on this trial. And we desperately need this trial. It is our only option at this point.”

Keep this OMP family in your thoughts and prayers as they endure yet more medical efforts in a hospital far from home. Support the family through a GoFundMe page here. Chateau Chantal, where Patrick works, has also organized an online silent auction featuring more than 70 unique gifts and experiences. The auction is now live, and bidding will end at noon on Monday, Feb. 20. Check out the auction site here.

On that same page, you’ll also see a link to purchase the 2021 Proprietor’s Reserve ‘Rigan Estate Vineyard’ Auxerrois, and 50 percent of sales will go directly to the Rigan family. This Auxerrois is produced from 100 percent Rigan Estate Vineyard grapes. Auxerrois is a European varietal with a bright tropical fruit nose, highlighted by pineapple, apricot, and guava. Neutral oak aging provides a soft mouthfeel with notes of pear and honey.

Writes Sarah, “Right now, I am asking for prayers for all of our anxious hearts. For Patrick and I, that God would take away the worry and the panic that we are experiencing and give us patience and peace. For Tenley and Ella, that they feel the love and comfort of family and friends while we are apart. And most of all, for Conor, that God would provide him the strength and courage to do the things that scare him and keep him fighting until this battle is won!”

UPDATE: Sarah posted on Feb. 21 that Conor is able to swallow that pill again and things seem to be back on track. Read more here.

Conor Rigan | Rigan Photo
Conor Rigan | Rigan Photo

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A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper.

Because Old Mission Gazette is a "Reader Supported Newspaper" -- meaning it exists because of your financial support -- I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks our way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. In a time when local news is becoming a thing of the past, supporting an independent community newspaper is more important now than ever.

To keep the Gazette going, click here to make a donation. Thank you so much for your support. -jb

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  1. Jane,
    May I have your permission to place a link to this page (Updates on Johnny and Conor) in the newly-established Old Mission American Legion Post 399 website? It would, of course, give your paper recognition, as desired. This is so important and our AmLegion/Community Hall organization should have every possible option to read up on it. But if it doesn’t seem right to you, I understand.
    Thanks. Tom Petzold, Adjutant/Vice Commander


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