When we think of children we usually think of laughter, playing, fun, things breaking and efforts to bend or even break the rules. Rarely do we imagine kids suffering from disease or conditions that threaten their lives. In an unfair world, this to me is the apogee of heartache.
As adults we are all guilty of complaining about various aspects of life but imagine the courage it must take to be a toddler and struggle with an illness or staring death in the face on a daily basis. The same intestinal fortitude must be possessed by the parents of a child with a sickness.
I want to introduce Anthony Thompson who toiled with a rare form of epilepsy. His parents, Ian and Melissa, have lived the nightmare of their child’s seizures, at times, twenty a day lasting fifteen to twenty minutes each. Anthony was diagnosed at three. He was too young to fully comprehend but he knew something was wrong.
When the seizures attacked, Anthony would fall head-heavy. The unmitigated terror Ian and Melissa felt would be far and above the usual concerns and worries every parent inherently understands.
Ian told me there had to be a reason for his son’s affliction and as the years have progressed, he now knows the answer- Anthony’s anguish would end up helping other parents of children requiring medical care as well as raising awareness and connecting with other families.
Several treatments were tried before the right formula was found for Anthony. Now, he is doing what eleven-year-old kids do; he plays basketball, loves video games and likes to draw. Ian said for a son that didn’t talk much, Anthony is now making up for lost time and thinks his boy will be a sportscaster one day.
The awful seizures have stopped for eight years now and the Thompson family has done more than give a sincere thank you to McMaster Children’s Hospital.
The Thompsons have turned their tragedy into actions. Correction. Great actions! Since 2013 they have held their annual `An Evening of Awareness’ fundraiser dinner with all proceeds going to McMaster Children’s Hospital in support of pediatric neurology.
The fundraisers have raised an astonishing $310,000 which has helped pay for upgrades to EEG machines and other high-tech equipage to diagnose and treat children from the region.
Then came Covid-19. The virus has caused the fundraising dinner to be cancelled but this will not stop the Thompsons including Anthony’s sister Fiona and brother Nathan. Instead, they are holding a bottle and can drive. They want your empties so they can continue their fight for sick kids. It is a battle we must all indulge.
During these stressful times many of us wonder what we can do to help humanity. Simply put, we can take a few minutes and aid the Thompsons. We can warm our hearts knowing we are contributing to the worthiest of causes. Cliched as it may sound, children are the future and those that are ailing need our love and charity. We truly all are in this together.
Ian told me the entire experience has left him and his family humbled. The fact is, it is we who are humbled by the Thompson’s bravery, positivity and never-ending fight to assist others.
If you can help, please contact Ian Thompson at (905) 520 – 8253 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also reach Ian on Facebook. Thank you.
by Ben Guyatt