Holly Irwin said she missed saving her son's life by one day.
“He said to me ‘mom, I need a helmet’ and the very next day we were going to go,” Irwin said, her voice wavering. “I missed saving his life by a day. It’s the worst pain any mom can go through in her entire life.”
Now the Ledyard mom is on a mission to keep families from the same tragedy she faced.
On Nov. 25, 2016, Irwin’s 14-year-old son Conor was in a skateboarding accident just a couple of blocks from home. He hit his head and succumbed to his injuries 10 days later.
“He had two helmets for hockey. A concussion helmet and a regular helmet. He had a lacrosse helmet, he had a bicycle helmet,” Irwin listed. The only sport Conor didn’t have a specific helmet for was skateboarding. While he still wore one, he wasn’t at the time of the accident, Irwin said.
So she helped create a bill known as Conor’s Law. It passed the state Senate Monday. The bill, in part, would require children 15 years or under to wear protective headgear when skateboarding, roller skating or in-line skating.
Irwin said she’d like to see the required age even higher but hopes this encourages kids to start the habit early.
“You ask where do you get your fight? Or, where do you get your strength? I don’t have any,” Irwin said. “I don’t have fight. I don’t have strength. I still have Conor inside of me saying, ‘mom I need you to do this.’”
Conor spent his life and now his legacy helping others.
He was known for wearing a bowtie because he had to “dress for success,” Irwin said. Conor was the kid who would help an elderly stranger load groceries into the car. He spoke with lawmakers about getting healthy foods in schools. In fact, he went to Washington D.C. for a day to talk with Rep. Joe Courtney’s staff about student lunch programs, according to Irwin. He spent his life helping others.
That’s what Irwin hopes Conor will be remembered for.
“Thing most important to him is that no mom would have to cry again about their son or their daughter dying of a closed head injury, or a traumatic brain injury, because they wore a helmet. That would make him feel empowered,” Irwin said.
According to Irwin, if Conor’s law passes in Connecticut, she wants to bring it to the national stage.