Mark and Julia Thomas gave a once-in-a-lifetime gift to 4-year-old Rogelio and his mother, Irma, when they presented a check from the Emily Thomas Foundation to PACER Center. The funds will purchase equipment for Rogelio, who is blind, has developmental delays, and uses a wheelchair. With physical therapy services at school, his motor development has improved, but his family has no equipment at home to continue his physical therapy when there are no school services during the summer.
Enter the Emily Thomas Foundation, established by the Thomases following the death of their daughter. Emily died at the age of 13, after a series of complex surgeries to repair a congenital heart condition. Emily had lived a “normal” life, full of love and accomplishments, and those who knew her “met an angel,” say her parents. But, Emily also had unique educational needs and required medical treatment that didn’t fit the hospital models. From their experience with Emily’s education and medical treatment, the Thomases decided to establish a foundation to support the educational development and medical needs of children. Through the foundation, they are advocating for families who are experiencing the same difficulties, and sharing their story and knowledge so other families can be find resources to make their lives a little easier. By forming the foundation and working in collaboration with organizations like PACER, the Thomases are not only sharing the story of their daughter, Emily, but helping many others in need.
To Whom It May Concern:
I would like to write this letter to let you know how grateful my family is for the assistance that the Emily Thomas Foundation has granted us. My son, Logan, has started therapy with Kathleen Pursell this summer and the results have been amazing. Behavioral and Social therapies are not available through the school systems, yet they are so beneficial to the children receiving them. Logan has really started to blossom this summer and we are so thankful that your foundation made this available to him. Though he is able to speak, holding an actual conversation has been non-existent. I am proud to say that Kathleen told us last week that he has started to finally develop two of the three key parts of holding a two way conversation. Obviously, this is key to Logan's success in having any relationships with his peers. His father and I see such wonderful changes in him and we are truly grateful. Please let me know if there would be any way in which I could help with a fund raiser of any sort through the Emily Thomas Foundation in order to continue the therapy. Your generosity has been such a blessing. Thanks so much for your help.
Hello, My name is Wendy and my son is receiving services for ABA Behavioral Therapy thanks to Emily Thomas Foundation and couldn't be more grateful to you.
My son was diagnosed with Autism at 2 yrs. old. I was very lucky to have caught it early enough and I got on the ball with the Early Intervention program available here in Florida where we reside. Through this program he received Speech, Occupational and ABA Behavioral Therapies. With these therapies I saw my son progress and reach new heights in his developments. The unfortunate part was that services end at the age of 3 and he was transitioned to our county school ESE program. All of these necessary therapies were no longer covered and I had to pursue them on my own, which are very costly and impossible to afford. Noah is now 4 years old and it was a year since he didn't receive any ABA Behavioral Therapy, which happens to be the most important, and most expensive therapy that he needs. ABA Therapy teaches my son to focus, pay attention, listen, talk and learn. It's the most effective therapy. My dream one day is for me to have a conversation with him about his day. To have dialogue with him is something I don't have now, it's very heartbreaking. I can envision that day with the progress he is making through this therapy. He is well on his way and I have Emily Thomas Foundation to thank. I can't wait for the day that I'm able to share my success story with you.
I've been so blessed to come across this opportunity through Emily Thomas Foundation, he now receives ABA Behavioral Therapy with Dr. Kelly. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. He has benefited from this program so much, already I see the progress he is making. Dr. Kelly does such a wonderful job with him. She engages him like no one has been able to and he looks forward to her sessions, as I do too. My concern is that there's only 1 month left worth in services and stopping therapy would be detrimental to his progress. I would love it if he was able to continue and I'm willing to help in the fund-raising process through my sources. I've successfully raised money and awareness for Autism Speaks and C.A.R.D (Center for Autism and Related Disability) and would love to do the same for Emily Thomas Foundation.
As a mother of a special needs child, this journey so far has been tough and somewhat bittersweet. As time goes by, it starts making sense. I was chosen to be the mother of this angel. How lucky am I? I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm truly blessed and he makes my world. I too want to make his world by providing everything he needs to prepare him to be an independent adult that is able to function in society. Please open the attachment to this email, you will find some pictures of Noah.
The Emily Thomas Foundation
The Emily Thomas Foundation has been a true blessing to our sweet angel Landon! Landon is now 10 years old and since he was about 3 months old has had many struggles and hurdles in his life! It started with a diagnoses of tracheomalacia (airway development problem), severe digestive issues (projectile vomiting everything he ate or drank) for nearly 2 years. At around a year old he experienced 3 seizures within about 3 months. They were only febrile seizures (fever induced), but it led us to the neurologist where an MRI showed he had a brain injury due to the lack of oxygen called Periventricular Leukomalacia (PVL). This has affected his learning and certain developmental areas such as comprehension, fine motor skills and planning, balance and coordination, and severe ADHD. He has received special education services since Pre-k within our county schools that have included Occupational therapy. Up until this past year his placement was helpful to him, but we started to see some major struggles and obvious challenges in his social and emotional behaviors which were causing a lot of frustration at home but also at school. We went through a very thorough private evaluation with a pediatric neuropsychologist where Landon was diagnosed with high functioning autism.
At this point I knew a lot of changes needed to be made with school resources and his placement. Needless to say we started having one of the biggest battles yet! This foundation made it possible to fight a fight I never dreamed I would have to face for my son! We were provided with full legal supports in battling it out with the county school system, in which I could not have gotten otherwise on my own!! It is because of this foundation that my son now receives the most thorough and optimum support and resources for his issues! I learned so much about the laws in Georgia that protect special needs children and from here forward feel confident in being able to fight and advocate for Landon because of this blessing! There are no words to express how truly grateful and blessed we feel because of what this foundation has provided for our family! We thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!!