Meet Connor

Introducing a GH Pastor All Star

Meet Connor 2023 Beaumont Children's 2023 Children’s Miracle Network Ambassador

  • Connor Barringer
  • Age 13
  • William Beaumont Hospital


In September 2019, 10-year-old Connor fell while battling for a ball during a soccer scrimmage. His parents took him to see an orthopedic surgeon, who performed an X-ray to confirm that Connor had broken his collar bone.

Eight weeks and many follow-up appointments later, Connor’s collar bone was healed. But something wasn’t right. His head and neck were still out of alignment. The orthopedic surgeon referred Connor to a physical therapist, where he underwent treatment for six weeks before a therapist noticed something amiss with Connor’s neck during a manipulation session. He was referred to a neurologist for a CT scan. When the neurologist saw the imaging, he urged Connor’s family to take him directly to the Emergency Center at Corewell Health William Beaumont University Hospital (formerly Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak).

Reviewing the CT scan with Connor and his family, the physicians pointed out two twisted vertebrae in his neck. They were shocked Connor had not experienced paralysis, muscle weakness or any other neurological symptoms. The following morning, Connor had surgery to install a halo device to stabilize his neck. His family was told he would be in traction for about a week. But that one week quickly became eight.

Connor remained hospitalized for two months, unable to sit up or get out of bed. He underwent three additional surgeries and countless painful traction adjustments to his halo. Despite these extraordinary circumstances, Connor maintained a positive attitude throughout his stay. “Connor has the sweetest soul of any patient I’ve ever worked with,” said Child Life Specialist Amanda Lefkof. “He put a smile on everyone’s face.”

Connor availed himself of every Child Life Service that was offered to him over the course of his stay. This important program, funded by Children’s Miracle Network, is dedicated to helping children and their families cope with the stress of serious illness or injury. In addition to participating in animal therapy visits, working with music therapists and collecting bravery beads for completing difficult procedures, Connor and his child life specialists came up with creative ways to stay entertained while he was flat on his back. He enjoyed target practice – which involved his caregivers hanging paper targets on the ceiling for him to shoot with his Nerf gun – and pranking his nurses when they entered the room.

Despite the considerable challenges he faced during his hospitalization, Connor was often more concerned with the happiness of those around him. He felt bad that he had taken up all of his parents’ attention during his stay, and in order to make it up to them, he wanted to plan something special for their wedding anniversary. With help from his care team, Connor planned a romantic dinner for his parents in the Children’s Miracle Network Garden, complete with flowers, battery-operated candles and a menu from Papa Joe’s.

Connor was released from the hospital two days before the COVID-19 lockdown. After six more weeks and a handful of follow-up appointments, his halo was finally removed. Today, three years after his initial injury, Connor is a happy, healthy and active 13-year-old who enjoys golf and tennis. His bravery, generosity and positive attitude are an inspiration to all of us.

See Connor’s story