Monday, January 21, 2008

Tribute to Tom

This is a picture of my cousin Tom Dawson. He lives in Altoona. I have always known that he is a great kid. (He takes after his father and grandfather and great-grandfather that way. Must be genetic) I just did not know how great.

This is a story about him that touched my heart. There is a boy, Matthew, in his school who began having medical problems. Tracy (Tom's Mother) writes:

In January of his fifth grade year, he, Matthew, began having seizures, to the point that they had to put him into a coma medically. He'd never had a seizure before this. Every time they'd try to pull him out, the seizures would start again, several severe and long periods of seizing. He was sent to Mayo after the docs here couldn't figure anything out. He spent about 6 months there, they were finally able to get med levels right and out of the coma, but by the time there had been brain damage effecting speech, movement, thought - everything, but he was alive and that in itself was major as the doc in DSM didn't think he'd make it.

She goes on to tell me about Matthew and Tom:

It was last summer that Tom and Matt really started to hit it off and spend time with each other. Tom is terrific with him, Tom's patience and maturity help Matthew greatly. Tom has even gone through a seizure with Matthew, and handled better than most adults!!

This year at school Matthew has been taking a mixture of 7th and 8th grade curriculum so his schedule is kind of screwy. Anyway, Matt's mom is a teacher at Centennial, Tom had her for third grade,(so did Em) we got together with Dee and tried to work something out where Tom and Matt could be together. They have homeroom together and lunch every other day.

Tom started by just eating with Matthew, and then decided they needed to hang with other guys. So Tom one day went and grabbed Matthew's tray and moved him to the table with the "football" group (the group Tom usually sits with) and now they've accepted Matthew as "normal". It has helped Matthew to feel normal so much, to be one of the guys again like he used to be.

Kids can be cruel to those who are different Tracy writes, " I guess if they only knew what Matthew's been through and really how big he is he others might show more kindness, at least Tom sees to it that when he's around no one messes with him."

She finishes her note by saying, "Matthew is actually thinking about doing track in the spring and racing his wheelchair along with may be shot put......WOW.....those docs in DSM were sure wrong on this kid!!! Matthew is living proof of the power of prayer and sure will!!"

You can follow Matthews story at Caring Bridge. Click here to be taken to his page. If you read the past Journal entries you see what Matthew has had to go through. You can also see how Tom is mentioned and what a friend he has been to Matthew. I really am proud of my cousin Tom. He knows what is important in life. That we love and care for one another. Tom, I salute you. I am loving watching you grow into the person you will become.

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