Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

August 29, 2013

Thomas leads an inspiring life

By Hunter Tickel The JOURNAL
The Daily Iowegian

---- — Sometimes you cover sports and other times you get a compelling fight.

That is a fight against illness. Eighth-grader Carson Thomas is winning the battle with Gordon’s syndrome and DiGeorge.

On top of that, the Washington native received word Thursday, Aug. 1, that he had been selected as a Kid Captain. He will get to walk players out onto the field before every Iowa home game.

“He is very excited and reminds us every day. He has got all his Hawkeye clothes out,” said his mother, Kelley Thomas. “When they come out of the tunnel and the Iowa song plays, he knows the words to that song.”

He was nominated by his father ‘Dave and Kelley and then chosen from a pool of 462 kids.

It’s a world away from what his final outcome could have been after several complications at birth. He has battled multiple syndromes for nearly 14 years and his parents were told he could never live off a ventilator.

Gordon’s causes clubfoot and the DiGeorge syndrome causes a lack of brain function. He has lung disease. He lived with a’ tracheostomy that helps breathing for three years.

He had feeding issues, forcing him to use a tube much of his life when the food doesn’t have the consistency of pudding. The syndrome affects his immune system.

But one thing that is normal about his life is waking up every day and showering for school.

“He’s home. When school starts he will go to school every day. He is pretty much a regular kid — he just has more obstacles than most.”

Thomas has built up a lot of character as he has navigated such heartache.

“Absolutely, I think all kids that have medical issues are stronger than most adults. They put up with so much and have to endure so much. He has a higher pain threshold than a healthy child does. It has made him stronger.”

With each day comes gratitude from his mom for life, but he still has a very uncertain future.

“We don’t know, we never know what the next day brings. We were told he wouldn’t live. For him to make it almost 14 years is a huge accomplishment.”

Kelley said she was very emotional when the doctor first told her that and experienced a feeling she wouldn’t wish upon any other parent.

His life has been synonymous with the hospital, as he spent his first 96 days there, to go along with 20 surgeries over the course of his life.

He knows some of the players from meeting them after games in the past. He will be meeting coach Kirk Ferentz for the first time.

Even with all the hardship that Thomas has faced, he still exists as any other child. He doesn’t get caught up in his inspirational story.

“I’m sure not. He looks at himself like a normal kid. Everywhere we go someone knows him, but I don’t think he actually knows how many people support him and he is a special little guy.”

Thomas doesn’t require a home nurse. Kelley and Dave give him his daily medicine and clean his G2 feeding tube in his stomach.

Even through this roller-coaster journey of emotions and bleak outlook, Kelley expresses humility.

“We are very grateful and thankful.”