By Kate Merrill, WBZ-TVBy Kate Merrill

CONCORD (CBS) — “As long as he had a ball and bat in his hand he was a happy kid.” Ellen Rogers talks about her son Ned Sullivan, who five years ago was just like any other college senior.

But that’s when life, just stopped.

“It’s that call every parent dreads,” recalls Ellen.

Ned had a seizure behind the wheel and crashed into a brick wall and broke his neck. He was paralyzed from the neck down. He spent a long year in the hospital getting better, but when he got home, he got worse.

Ned says, “I always felt alone and stuck and depressed.”

But then his sister was invited to a school assembly and the topic? Helping Hands Helper Monkeys. The organization helps people with spinal cord injuries by giving them monkey to help with everyday tasks.

WBZ-TV’s Kate Merrill reports.

Ned’s mom knew this was the answer. Pretty soon, they had little five-pound Kasey.

Ned says, “I had more confidence, more pep to my step.”

Kasey’s life is helping — from turning on lights, to music, to playing games with Ned. She is there for it all. She sleeps in his room. She has become his partner and friend.

Ned says, “More than just companionship, I always felt like she’s a wingman. She’s like a copilot.”

Ellen says, “She fills a huge void in his life.”

A life not over after the accident, just re-directed and once again filled with hope.

“He has a mission now,” says Ellen, “all we have to do is look to him and we are inspired.”

Kasey and Ned travel to schools to speak to kids, and Kasey will stay with Ned for the rest of her life.

Kate Merrill

Comments (39)
  1. MikeM says:

    Great story!! Like Ned, I am also a quadriplegic and have been for over 25 years. I can attest that anything that helps to make Ned more independent, like Kasey, will obviously improve his quality of life. Best of luck to Ned and family.

    1. GP says:

      Nice comment — good luck to you too. Just curious, I’d be very interested to know what technology you use when you “type” a comment like this. Good luck…be well

      1. says:

        I’ve been a ventilator-dependent quadriplegic since 1985. I was able to get an architectural degree using DragonDictate… now Dragon Naturally Speaking.

  2. Sandra says:

    Wondering what breed of Monkey Casey is? I think this is a fantastic idea to have animals help because they always give love no matter what..

    1. mars says:

      she is a capuchin monkey

  3. Dan says:

    Planet of the Apes anyone?

  4. Oberon says:

    Do you folks realize that these primates, so close to us, are neutered and have all lof their teeth removed in order to be “service” animals? I feel sorry for anybody like Ned, but enslaving another living being in order to serve him is just as awful. The fact thata this is considered a good thing is really, really sick.

    1. JR says:

      So Oberon, maybe you would feel better if Ned was deprived of the monkey, leading to further depression, and perhaps suicide? Would that make you happy? Moron.

    2. charlie says:

      The fact that people like you consider the welfare of a monkey over the welfare of a human being is really really sick… and that’s not even addressing all the misinformation you’re spreading about the care of the monkey.

    3. Ar Amytas says:

      Yu B sick Oberon.

  5. Hank Warren says:

    Is this Obamacare? Obamacare, yet another violation of our rights. Add it to the list of gov’t violations of our right:
    They violate the 1st Amendment by placing protesters in cages, banning books like “America Deceived II” and censoring the internet.
    They violate the 2nd Amendment by confiscating guns.
    They violate the 4th and 5th Amendment by molesting airline passengers.
    They violate the entire Constitution by starting undeclared wars for foreign countries.
    Impeach Obama and sweep out the Congress, except Ron Paul.
    (Last link of Banned Book):

  6. Teresa says:

    Awesome story. Animals truly improve our lives with unconditional love, as humans we have a lot to learn from them.

  7. Susan says:

    I say three cheers for this program, and God bless you, Ned.

  8. DigitalBob says:

    I hope they trained her how to choke his chicken.

  9. Abe Simpson says:

    Pray for Mojo

  10. HarryBalls says:

    Let’s hope that medical research someday helps this kid’s spinal column be repaired so he can get this monkey off his back. Until then, who wouldn’t want a fun monkey to hang around? The Balls wonders if he spanks it–assuming its being bad, of course. Just a thought. HB

  11. Eric says:

    That is a tufted blackcap capuchin. These are highly intellegent species of monkeys. They are often used in films and movies due to their ability to learn and perform. If you think you want one, do extensive research. It is a 40 year committment. You can not expect them to be “happy” being confined to a cage all day and taken out as a novelty for a few minutes a day. Can you deal with diapers (40 years) They must have enrichment activies and extensive play time. Thier diet must be balanced and receive good medical care (not covered by your medical plan) Theyy have emotional needs. They can communicate with their caregiver through faial expression and sound, but the human companion must learn their language. The only way you can keep one is to have a huge long term committment. If you have any doubt – do not do it. Visit the ZOO instead.

    1. Roz says:

      Thanks for the great information. This may be a stupid question, but can’t such an intelligent animal be potty trained?

      1. Eric says:

        yes, but the still have that wild side. they also tend to take care of biz when they are startled.

      2. Jef C Taylor says:

        They are trained to defecate in their cages, but as the other commenter said, they are animals after all.

  12. Greg says:

    Yeah well this is all warm and fuzzy until the monkey rips has face off.

  13. GREEN JOB$ CZAR says:

    Obama said in 2008: “We Are The Ones We’ve Been Waiting For”

    Now I get it.

  14. jackobite says:

    thanks Greg for the Positive comment.

  15. Chris de Vidal says:

    Cool story. Glad he has help!

    P.S. Wasn’t there a Simpsons episode that went like this?

  16. KCHusker says:

    This is a neat story of an injured guy getting a fresh start, and yet there are still some colossal idiots posting shameful comments. That’s disappointing to say the least. Compassion, folks. No law against it…

  17. Tom Broshak says:

    Today he helps.
    Tomorrow he hurts.

  18. tclar18 says:

    The bad news is the monkey just joined the SEIU union and has demanded a new
    contract with a pension.

  19. George says:

    Postivie and uplifting, but I would be aware this is the exact plot of the horror movie Monkey Shines.

  20. Mike Burns says:

    Apparently they’ve forgotten the lessons from “Planet Of The Apes”. lol.

    At least having monkey slaves would free us to become as obese as we want to.

  21. Lorena Brinch says:

    My husband, Stian, and I are foster parents to Gordy, a 21-year old “retired” Helping Hands: Monkey Helpers for the Disabled capuchin monkey. We volunteered our home so that we could give Gordy an enriched life for his remaining years, but instead, it was Gordy who enriched OUR lives! He gives us so much joy, happiness and an amazing abundance of love every day. Getting Kasey was the best decision Ned and Ellen could have made. Congratulations on a successful match and may you all have many, many happy years together! – Lorena Brinch

  22. gene says:

    isn’t this how planet of the apes started?

  23. todd t says:

    I don’t know what that helper monkey is doing, but I want one….

  24. Stephanie IsGrateful Olson says:

    You guys that are making fun of this little monkey are cruel and should be locked up! They are just like helper dogs, but they actually are better! They have thumbs which lets them grab things for you! I’m sick of all of you who are saying bad things! Try and live disabled and then see what lengths you’ll go to for an easier life!