Community rallies to support Bozeman HS principal fighting illness

Posted at 12:38 PM, Oct 10, 2018

BOZEMAN – Bozeman High School Principal Kevin Conwell became very ill last week.

Conwell was diagnosed with lymphoma and in November of 2017  had a stem cell transplant, putting his cancer into remission. Kevin recently came down with what seemed to be a common cold but ended up being something much more serious. 

One of Kevin’s three daughters, Laura Lillrose said, “He had no mobility in his arms and just started to decline really quickly, so he wasn’t able to communicate very well and he had a tough time breathing.”

Kevin spent a week at Bozeman Deaconess Hospital but needed further care. He was flown to the University of Utah Medical Center for specialized treatment. His doctors have not yet determined what exactly is going on with Conwell’s health, but his treatment has entailed tremendous costs the family wasn’t prepared for.

Over the past few days, the Bozeman community has come together, already raising almost $20,000 to help the Conwell family through this difficult time.

“I’m so grateful every day for this community and I think it tells you how important Kevin is to these people,” said Dana Mahoney, a Bozeman High parent and Conwell family friend.

“It’s been incredible. I mean we feel so loved and so cared for. It just shows what a great person he is and just how respected he is in Bozeman and that just makes us feel great. Also, he’s going to need all that positive encouragement. It’s going to be a marathon,” Lillrose added.

Conwell has been the heart of Bozeman High School for the past six years.

“Kevin is an incredible person. He has really created an environment at Bozeman High School that is incredibly welcoming and nurturing for our kids,” Mahoney said.

After beating cancer, he got back to Bozeman High as quick as he could. Just a few weeks ago, Kevin was hiking mountains before falling ill and receiving care in Utah.

“It’s incredibly scary and it makes us realize how important it is to enjoy each other and enjoy our family and just how precious life is,” Lillrose said.

Anyone wanting to help can visit a GoFundMe site set up for the Conwell family, and they plan to continue to update it as they know more about Kevin’s condition. 

-Emma Hamilton reporting for MTN News