Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ultimate Frisbee!

Thomas' neurosurgeon, Dr. Sanjay Dhall, called this morning. We talked about Thomas at length and he feels Thomas is ready to start resuming his active life – including playing Ultimate Frisbee. This was extremely welcome news! We are beyond grateful for this remarkable milestone in Thomas' recovery!

"Inside Grady" had a story about Thomas in its most recent edition:

Here's the article in PDF format:

Thanks for all the prayers!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Update from Virginia


I'm sorry I haven't updated the blog in a while and I'm very grateful to those of you still praying for Thomas. He continues to improve in his strength and endurance and believe it or not he's caught up in most of his classes at Lakeside. Although he can't participate in his favorite sport – Ultimate Frisbee – he stays active with the team by videotaping the games and sitting on the bench. 

Recently Mary Loftus from Emory Magazine wrote a wonderfully comprehensive article on Thomas and the doctors who saved his life. The link is here:

If you would like to view the video that was made for the Grady White Coat Gala honoring Bernie Marcus the new link is:
Thank you all for your many kind words and prayers. 

love to you all, Virginia Sowell

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Thomas started school this week!

He is on a regular, full-day schedule. He's been doing tons of homework each afternoon and evening to try to begin catching up, but he's not complaining about any of it. The teachers have been very gracious in helping him. In fact, Mrs. Baldonado, his math teacher, offered to come tutor him at our house! The students have been most welcoming too. Brinkley put a welcome back poster on Thomas' locker and many friends have posted on his facebook page. Next week is Thomas' spring break and he hopes to use the time to work on projects.

We all continue to be in awe at the recovery and progress Thomas continues to make. His stamina is remarkable and I thank you for your prayers for him. They're obviously helping!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Thomas Graduated from Shepherd Pathways Outpatient Rehab

Friday was Thomas' last day of rehab at Shepherd Pathways. A big deal is made when any patient finishes treatment. It's encouraging for the other patients to see that they too will go home – ready to live the rest of their lives. We were blessed again by many, many therapists, doctors, nurses and others who facilitated Thomas' recovery. When we drove away Jim joked, "what – no TV cameras?" When we left Grady and when we left Shepherd there were news crews documenting the transfers. So, I guess Thomas' 15 minutes of fame is over! Thank you for your continued prayers. We are beyond grateful!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Update on Thomas

Thomas continues rehab at Shepherd Pathways for one more week. His "graduation day" is Friday, March 25 (his brother Daniel's 19th birthday). We are all extremely happy to hear that on Monday the 28th he can return to school. Thomas emailed his teachers and has received some assignments to work on so he can begin catching up. He'll be in school for one week and then have spring break (when he can accomplish more).

Saturday night, March 19, 2011 was a magical night for the Sowells and a triumph for the fund-raising efforts on behalf of Grady Memorial Hospital. Lisa Borders, Atlanta's City Council President and tireless fundraiser for Grady, asked us to be a part of this gala. Four special people were honored including Bernie Marcus. Bernie Marcus donated $20 million to Grady which funded the Marcus Stroke and Neuroscience Center – the place where Thomas was treated in Atlanta.

Dave Drabik and his crew came and filmed Thomas and us at Shepherd a couple of weeks ago and created a beautiful video highlighting Thomas' story at Grady. (I'll post it when I get a copy on mp3.) The video was shown and then Thomas got to go onstage and present the award to Mr. Marcus. We are extremely blessed to have been a part of this tribute. We got to sit at the table with Atlanta's mayor, Kasim Reed, along with Lisa Borders, CNN anchor and emcee for the night Fredricka Whitfield. We were also given a behind the scenes tour of the Georgia Aquarium.

Even though it seems like everything is getting back to normal, we know Thomas has some hurdles to jump. He is still restricted in his physical activity for a while and he will have to work very hard on his academics to get back up to speed. We are overwhelmingly thankful for the prayers you've given to our family. Miracles happen and in this case you have all been a part of it!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

House Call

Who said doctors don't make house calls? Saturday Drs. Frankel and Noguiera stopped by to see Thomas. These two top Grady docs took excellent care of Thomas, but of course he barely remembered them. It was SO nice for him to meet the guys who saved his life. We all enjoyed the reunion. Dr. Noguiera even explained to Thomas that he could take some images from the DVD of his MRI and incorporate the brain images into the PowerPoint presentation he's making. We are forever blessed by the excellent treatment Thomas received through the wonderful staff at Grady's Marcus Stroke and Neuroscience Center – and now at home too!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tuesday, March 1

Last weekend Thomas was able to attend the Ultimate Frisbee tournament "Deep Freeze" in Chattanooga, TN with his team from Lakeside. Several parents drove the team members at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday morning. They played all day Saturday and Sunday. Thomas and I sat on the sidelines and watched, but being outside on a beautiful weekend with the fun kids of Ultimate did wonders for our morale. Thomas did some warm-ups with the team, but was extremely cautious.

Thomas continues outpatient therapy at Shepherd Pathways. He's enjoying the variety of things they're having him do, but is anxious to get back to school.

Thank you for your continued prayers. You will never know how grateful I am for your attention to Thomas' recovery. God is good. Life is good!


Friday, February 25, 2011

Update from Virginia - Friday

Thank you for your continued prayers! Thomas is doing well in outpatient rehab at Shepherd Pathways. The therapy is similar to what he had at the Shepherd Center – physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, therapeutic recreation and much more.

During a routine exam a nurse (with a thick accent) asked him all the standard questions – "do you have a wheelchair" – no – "do you wear glasses?" – no – "do you have false teeth?" Thomas answered, "sometimes." When I looked at him with raised eyebrows he said to the nurse, "Did you just ask if I flossed my teeth?"

Thomas is mainly working on building strength and endurance. He lost 10 lbs. (of muscle) when he was hospitalized. Surprisingly his balance is excellent. His gross and small motor skills are only slightly impaired. He needs to build up strength in his voice too. It's nice to know that all of these deficits are temporary and, with time, will heal.

The main thing that Thomas HAS to do is not sustain another brain injury, so he has to be extremely careful when doing any physical activity.

This weekend the Lakeside Ultimate Frisbee team is going to the "Deep Freeze" tournament in Chattanooga. Even though Thomas can't play, he wants to honor his commitment to accompany the team to cheer them on. The comradery will energize him!

Thomas staying in good spirits thanks to the prayers and support of all of you. At last night's Boy Scout Court of Honor he was welcomed with a standing ovation! We are blessed to have the Scouting community (our troop and other units) encouraging us.

Our family has enjoyed many meals from our generous community! All of our friends are excellent cooks.

Keep praying and know that our gratitude to each one of you overflows!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sunday - Like It Should Be

Our whole family was able to go to church this morning. It felt completely right sitting in our pew surrounded by the Oak Grove church family that has been so faithfully praying for us. Daniel was home from college this weekend to spend time with his brother.

Tomorrow Thomas starts his outpatient therapy at "Shepherd Pathways". He will work on skills that will enable him to catch up with school work and return to school. They're saying he'll need to do this two to four weeks. (Of course I'm hoping it will be sooner rather than later!)

There are no words to express my gratitude to all of you for the prayers and kindness you have shown us. We are through the worst of this ordeal in record time, but Thomas has to be extremely careful right now – for the next year or so – to NOT re-injure his brain.

I continue to ask for your prayers. Please know I feel very connected to all of you who have petitioned God for this miracle.

Thank you!


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thomas is Home!!!

After a lengthy press conference, Thomas is home relaxing.

Thomas Discharged Today!!

From Virginia:
Today is the day – Thomas is being discharged. I sort of hate to post it in case something goes wrong, but he's supposed to have a "press conference" today at 10:30. Doctors from Grady and the ski patrol from Cataloochee will be there.

The nursing manager at Shepherd, Gail Greene, is a mom of three grown Eagle Scouts. Her husband is in charge of the volunteer ski patrol at Cataloochee. She told us, "they rarely get any feedback about the people they rescue." Jim said, "Thomas won't remember anything to tell them." She said, "just seeing Thomas IS feedback."

We can't wait!

I hope to send some pictures, but it's possible this will be on the noon news somewhere.

See an early AJC online report about Thomas', click here.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday At Shepherd

Today Jim and I attended a two-hour meeting to educate families on the care of brain-injury patients. We learned a lot from the doctor who gave the lecture and from the other families present. One man explained the difficulty and expense ($12,000) of obtaining power of attorney for his adult son who was injured so that he and his wife could care for him. Lots to think about!

Thomas has been cleared to walk around the unit unescorted. He's also been upgraded to a normal diet. Today his PT took him outside for a walk up and down Peachtree Street.

When Thomas returned to his room after one of his therapy sessions he found a giant stuffed tiger and balloons from Cub Scout Pack 577. As for stuffed animals Thomas has received three – Lion and Tiger and Bear, Oh my!

Obviously we have been blessed with many miracles during Thomas' recovery. Your prayers and support mean the world to us! Thank you for continuing to pray.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday - Thomas Up and Around

Thomas continues to do well, thank God. Thank you for the prayers you have been lifting up for him and for us. We are truly humbled by the generosity of all of you!

Yesterday Thomas' buddies from the neighborhood stopped by. It was great to see him smiling and interacting. Today we're expecting more visitors, although everyone is being very mindful of Thomas' need to rest. Last night the scouts in the troop Skyped Thomas from their campout on the church grounds. This traditional sleepover happens every year the night before Scout Sunday. Today at the worship service (Jim attended) Thomas' progress was noted. Jim said there was a round of applause, which made him cry.

Tonight Jim and I must leave Thomas so that his normal routine can start bright and early on Monday. It will be difficult for us not to be here tonight, but we must follow the rules. They certainly know what they're doing at the Shepherd Center. Many miracles go on here all the time.

Thank you for your continued support and kindness. We will never be able to thank you enough.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Update from Virginia - Friday

Shepherd is just as amazing as its reputation. The doctors, nurses and therapists have all been outstanding.

Thomas has undergone lots of tests – physical, mental, etc. This morning he was awakened at 7:00 for a blood draw, 7:30 for a shower (which he was able to do standing up) and off to therapy. He was able to WALK on his own. I have been cleared to walk with him now. He wears a gate-belt around his waist just in case he should stumble. So far he's walking well – even up the stairs. He's a little slow and of course tired, but he's scoring well on the cognitive tests as well. Miracles abound. Prayers are being answered, but we still cherish your prayers for Thomas.

One other thing. . . Please forgive me for not returning phone calls, emails and texts. I'm trying, but I just can't keep up. I'll also apologize for having to hang up quickly if a doctor comes in.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!


WSBTV Channel 2 Story

Click here to see the story and watch the video.

From Linda Stouffer of WSBTV...

Thank you all for sharing Thomas' amazing journey with all of us.

Within minutes of the story airing tonight... I had a viewer e-mail me to say how much he hopes we follow his progress.

I totally agree.

I also really appreciate the opportunity to show off the excellent care at Grady.


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thomas Arrives at Shepherd Center

Thomas Sowell Arrives at Shepherd Center from KPKinteractive on Vimeo.

Franklin, Mitch, and Dave

Earlier Jim and Virginia requested we mention Thomas was not the only casualty on the outing. Franklin H. (Scout snowboarder) and Mitch S. (adult skiier) both broke shoulders from falling. Another adult leader, Dave L., also hurt his knee and is awaiting diagnosis from the doctor.

Mitch reports he is doing well and still awaiting doctor recommendations regarding surgery. Franklin had surgery today. He had an 80mm pin inserted to correct the broken clavicle's position for proper healing. His father Frank reports he doing fine, in a bit of pain, and hungry since they would not let him eat since yesterday in preparation for the procedure. He is quoted as saying, "When this procedure is finished, I want two pizzas all to myself."

Please keep these Scouts and Scouters in your prayers as well. Clearly, you folks have tremendous healing ability in the prayers you have been sending. Let's share the love.

Update from Virginia - Thursday

Thomas has been moved from Grady's Neurological Intensive Care to Shepherd Center for rehabilitation. This is fantastic news in Thomas' progress. His therapy starts tomorrow, but he has already been able to walk under his own power with guidance. He is also eating well.

Go Thomas!!

Two steps forward, one step back

From Virginia...
Thomas had another difficult night. Jim was with him and said Thomas was confused and frustrated. He still needs your prayers for a complete recovery, but we are all very grateful for the miraculous progress he's made. Thanks for praying!

CBS Atlanta Story

The latest story from yesterday as covered by CBS Atlanta: see Thomas up and talking!

Click here to read the story and watch the video.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Update from Virginia - Wednesday

Thomas is doing well. His condition continues to improve. He is currently in the hospital entertaining a Fox news crew there to do a story on him. Virginia reports that Thomas is sitting up in bed and is playing computer games. He has recently passed all cognitive and speech tests given to him he will be transferred tomorrow to Shepherd spinal center for inpatient rehabilitation. Doctors state that they would not be surprised if he is there less than two weeks.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

From Tom Wilson, Director of Support Services, AAC

I just spoke to Jim Sowell,

He said Thomas told him he has a book report due and asked his dad to please bring some materials from home so he could get to work on it.

Coming from a young man who was taken off the ventilator today and opened his eyes for the first time in more than a week, that is some good news!


Virginia just called in tears - they removed the breathing tube. He woke up, and the doctors asked him his name. He said, "my name is Thomas." They asked what year it is. Thomas said, "It's 2011." They asked if he knew where he was. He said, "Atlanta." He was told he was in Grady, but his eyes are open, he is alert, and responsive.


Please keep those prayers flowing for a continued positive trend toward recovery.

Monday, February 7, 2011

From Thomas' Cousin Rachel

This weekend, two of Thomas’ aunts, Kerri and Evelyn, and his cousin Rachel, were able to make the drive down from Nashville and spend some time with him. This is what they wanted everyone to know:

We got to spend some sweet time with Jim and Virginia while visiting Thomas for the first time since the accident this weekend. As a bonus, Daniel was able to come down from college for the weekend too. It was good to be able to see Thomas with our own eyes and make our own (albeit unprofessional) assessment. We were able to meet his doctors and many nurses that have been taking such excellent care of Thomas. The Marcus Stroke and Neuroscience Center is top-notch and we could not ask for a more knowledgeable staff. It is overwhelming to see Thomas in the condition he is in, but the staff is incredible when it comes to explaining every little detail and answering all the questions we could possibly think of to make us feel at ease.

While we were there, Thomas was slowly being eased off the sedatives and continues to be able to move a little more. We were there when Thomas was told to open his eyes, and they fluttered open to about an eighth of an inch. He even started scratching his nose. It was so incredible to witness! And it was such a God thing that it happened when it did so that we, as family, could be there and see it and celebrate this victory with Jim, Virginia, and Daniel. We know the road ahead will be filled with ups and downs, but we are thankful for every step forward.

Thomas does hear us and we enjoyed being able to talk to him. We kept telling him about all the people that are thinking of and praying for him. We told him about the hundreds of cards that are sitting on his windowsill. Just reading a few of those brought tears to my eyes. To know that he is so loved and is being lifted up to our Savior by so many people is awesome! Of course, I also had a little fun constantly “reminding” him that I’m his favorite cousin.

Thomas does have a long road ahead of him, but we will be taking this day by day, week by week. We are reminding ourselves that, “Because of the LORD’s great love, we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

We want to thank from the bottom of our hearts, with our sincerest gratitude for all the people who have lifted Thomas and our family up in their prayers. I don’t think we’ll ever know this side of heaven, just how many people are praying for him. God has His hands all in this situation. He has been bringing just the right person at the right time into Jim, Virginia, Daniel, and Thomas’ lives. He is orchestrating this entire situation and our hope and trust remain in Him. Please don’t stop praying for Thomas and his complete recovery. Also, pray for Jim, Virginia and Daniel to find rest and remain hopeful. Pray that our strength be renewed and that the peace that surpasses all understanding fills our lives.

Rachel A. Sowell

From Virginia: Monday morning...

Thank you for praying. Thomas got through the night and we're hopeful they'll remove the breathing tube today. He is quite alert – they're keeping him sedated so he won't have a "do it yourself" extubation.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Scouting and the Outdoors

Dear Scouts, Scouters and Friends of Thomas,


Since Thomas’ accident, I have had an opportunity to talk with many of the Scouts and adult leaders of our Troop.  It is only natural that, during these conversations, we have talked about the vital role the outdoors plays in the Scouting program.  For many boys, Scouting is the only activity they engage in which gets them into the natural outdoor environment.  Many Scouts and Scouters have told me that over the years, it was the Scouting program which first taught them that they were capable of much more than they first thought.  Baden Powell, the founder of the Boy Scouts calls the outdoors one of the Methods of Scouting.  He meant that the outdoors is one of the key components of Scouting which helps our youth discover who they are, and aids them in their transition to manhood.


Troop 77 has always had a strong outdoor program, and we intend to continue this program in the future.  We believe, as Baden Powell did over one hundred years ago, that there is something magical about the outdoors that has a profound effect on the development of the adolescent.  Besides – the outdoors is really fun!


As we go through our lives, sometimes things happen to us or our friends.  Some of those things are good, and some of those things are bad.  This is a natural consequence of living our lives actively.  And just as surely as eating nothing but hot dogs for breakfast, lunch and dinner is bad for us, so too is engaging in extremely risky behavior or activities.  But on the other side, sitting alone in our room playing computer games all day long is an extremely unhealthy activity as well.  We need to find a balance so that we can be actively engaged in living our lives, and at the same time, recognize that every activity we engage in has some risk associated with it.


In the Scouting world, we have a book called the Guide to Safe Scouting.  This book represents the accumulated knowledge of over one hundred years of Scouting in the United States.  It lists many different activities for Scouts, and the guidelines to be followed when undertaking these activities.  For us, this book helps to strike the balance we seek in running an exciting, engaging Scouting outdoor program.  It is often said that, if you take the ‘outing’ out of ‘scouting’, there is almost nothing left.  


While Thomas’ accident was very serious, and while we continue to pray for Thomas’ recovery, you should know that the Sowells encourage the Troop to continue its long tradition of running a strong and engaging outdoor program, and we intend to do just that.  Virginia asked that I add the following:


I wholeheartedly support the outdoor part of scouting.”  “Thomas LOVES this aspect of scouts and will hopefully participate in it again.”

“Even when a facility doesn't require certain safety measures, the scouts always go the extra mile. Helmets for rafting and snow boarding aren't always common (and aren't required at the Nantahala nor at Cataloochee), but Troop 77 has always required the added protection. Scouts in general, and our troop in particular, is safer in so many ways than other, non-scouting programs.”

Yours in Scouting,

Brad Gilmer

Scoutmaster – Troop 77


A Request From Thomas' Family

During my last two visits with Thomas, Jim has asked us to remember that Thomas was not the only one hurt on this ski trip. Franklin broke his collar bone, and Mr. Stockwell also broke his shoulder. I spoke with Franklin's father yesterday, and he reports that doctors are not happy with how Franklin’s bones are healing, and that Franklin may require surgery.

Thomas' family asking that, while you continue to support Thomas with prayers of strength and recovery, that you include Franklin and Mr. Stockwell in your thoughts as well.

Yours in Scouting,

Brad Gilmer

Scoutmaster – Troop 77

From the Paramedic

I have been in EMS for a long time (since 1989). During this time I've been the unfortunate witness to many terrible and tragic things, some beyond description. Out of these tragedies I have also occasionally witnessed the best people have to offer. I must say this situation has established an entirely new standard for grace, love, kindness and resolve of purpose; and one that defies the ugliness of an illness or injury.

The outpouring of support for Thomas and your family from an entire community restores my hope, not only in healing but in people. I believe the overwhelming support you are receiving is a testament to the character of an obviously awesome young man and a wonderful family!

It is my prayer that God bless Thomas with healing and your family with comfort and peace during this difficult time.

Randy Fugate
Critical Care Paramedic

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Holy Cow!!!

Thomas was told to open his eyes, and he did!! About an eighth of an inch!!! He also scratched his own nose with purposeful intent!!! Virginia called with excitement anxious to get this word out. Keep those prayers flooding in!! They are working!!!

Thomas remains unconscious and in critical condition, but these are hopeful signs. Though the doctors initially said brain swelling was eminent, they now say the chances of brain swelling are decreasing to a minimal level. Yay!!!

For Jim and Virginia: Reasons for Hope

I have created a blog for Jim and Virginia as a place to share your stories and well wishes. Many people have personal stories to share with Jim and Virginia, and would like them to know there is good reason to hope for the best. This is a place to aggregate those stories. It is made for your contributions you would like shared with Jim and Virginia, and all of us.

If you know the Sowell family and/or have inspirational thoughts, wishes of wellness, offers of prayer, stories of hope, or positive outcomes in the face of similar injuries, and would like to contribute to a blog, please let me know, and I will tell you how. Please send a note to "webmaster [at]"

The blog address is:

A Message from Greg J....

Just got off the phone with Jim. He requests no meals at this time, but notes that there will come a time in the near future when meals are needed. When we turn this spigot on, please be prepared to join the queue as preferred by their schedule.
While Jim requests that calls to the home are not desired (home phone message box is full), please continue/commence with note cards and e-mail messages of care and affirmation. You may copy both Jim and Virginia on e-mails. As I am confident you will, please send messages which require no responses or answers to medical questions.
We need to spread the word to all to send notes and cards to Daniel at Young Harris. It will be uplifting for him to receive a steady stream of cards in his campus post office box. Later today Jim will provide me with his direct campus address, which we will share with you. Please request address from "webmaster [at]" with subject: "Address for Daniel."
Thank you for your continued prayer and support. Jim and Virginia are lifted each day by your demonstrations of love and care.

Warmest Regards,

Update From Virginia - Saturday

Thomas' brother, Daniel, came home from college last night and was able to visit. That's a good thing. A new arterial blood oxygen measurement shows his blood oxygen levels are where they are needed. That's a good thing. His temperature is down to almost normal after the increase due to pneumonia. That's a good thing. Thomas' body continues to have movement which seemingly suggest purpose, such as responding to annoying stimuli (ex., breathing tubes being moved). Occasionally, sedative drugs are halted for brief testing. In each case, Thomas was able to respond to verbal commands such as, "squeeze my hand and wiggle your toes." Though instructed, he has not opened his eyes, but has "twitched" which the doctors say is significant.

Thomas continues to rest - still listed in critical condition, but stable. Please keep God's inbox flooded with prayers and well wishes, for Thomas and the entire family.

Virginia and Jim have read all the notes and cards created during the prayer gathering last Wednesday. They had an amazingly uplifting effect, and are greatly appreciated. Virginia and Jim wish to send their sincerest thanks and appreciation for those powerful messages of love and hope. It's working!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Update from Virginia - Friday

Virginia reports the doctors did administer paralytics to keep him still and 2 strong antibiotics for the pneumonia. 2nd brain probe inserted to measure blood oxygen of the brain. The 1st measures pressure. Jim says the the blood oxygen to the brain was low. Blood pressure was tweaked and it came back up.

JIm sees this current coma induced state as a good thing - like Thomas back in the womb again. Thomas will experience a second birth. We only know some of what to expect - like the sex of the child, but little else.

Foster North, District Committee Chair of Hightower Trail reminds us, a Scout is brave. We must all be brave with Thomas and for Thomas.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Update from Virginia - Thursday

Thomas had an eventful evening. Some good news, some not good.

The not good:
Thomas has developed a lung infection. Virginia and Jim are requesting a resurgence of prayers for this, as this is cause for serious concern. His blood oxygen is already 90%. The infection (pneumonia) threatens to lower it further. The doctors are administering heavy doses of antibiotics to fight the infection. Thomas is coughing hard as well, perhaps due to the ventilator or infection. This is not good according to the doctors, so they are administering paralytic drugs to immobilize Thomas. Prior to the infection, the doctors were considering removing the ventilator.

The good:
Overnight, Thomas struggled and fought with the nurse to remove the tubes and probes. While that is not good, it did indicate though unconscious, effort made with intent. Virginia reports waking at 4am to hear the doctor instructing Thomas to "squeeze his hand, wiggle your toes." She thought this pointless due to the sedation, but she heard the doctor say "good" after each instruction suggestion Thomas, though unconscious, was indeed responding to instruction. According to the doctors, the amount of brain activity required to simply lift a finger is significant, so any response at this point is encouraging. Let's take this as encouraging news.

Please pray for Thomas' lungs. He needs us now and ongoing. Never let up. Thomas has the heart of a lion, and with the same strength, we will match that spirit with unrelenting prayer.

AJC Coverage

Click here to read the story.

CBS Atlanta Coverage

Click here to watch the video.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Update from Virginia - Wednesday Morning

Talked to Jim this morning. (He spent the night). Please also pray for Thomas' lungs. They're doing better, but brain injuries with intubation often produce lung issues. They're keeping him well-sedated today, so we won't have any news of "toe wiggling" to report. Please don't stop praying. Know that my gratitude for your prayers is gigantic.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

An article about Thomas and the prayer service

From Virginia...

Hi, this is Virginia. Jim is with Thomas tonight at Grady. I'm grateful (more than you will ever know) for your prayers. Please don't stop praying. I wish I could talk with each of you personally. Emotionally I won't be able to read or answer all the emails, but PLEASE know I am eternally grateful for your good wishes. Please come to a prayer service for Thomas tomorrow evening at Oak Grove UMC, 7:00 p.m.

Signs of Hope

Thomas was successfully transported to Grady Hospital last night. The ride was uneventful but he had to be given morphine to return his condition of painless back to where he was before the trip. This took all night.

Jim reports that Thomas did in fact respond to a couple of verbal commands overnight. This is a tremendous sign of hope. Thomas remains stable. He is sedated and unconscious and in good care.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Requests and Prayer Gathering

We are asking everyone to honor the wishes of the family by not calling, emailing, texting or visiting at this time. If you wish to write a note of concern to the family, you may drop it off at the church office and a clergy member will take it to them.

The Youth of Oak Grove UMC's Revolution Community would like for you to come and pray with them for Thomas.

"Thomas is our friend and is in need of our prayers for life and healing. His parents, Jim & Virginia, and his brother, Daniel, are family to us and they need our prayers of peace and comfort. Please join us on Wednesday, February 2 at 7:00 p.m. in the church Sanctuary for a Service of Prayer. This service will be a time of guided prayer for 20 - 30 minutes and then the sanctuary will remain open for a time of silent or small group prayer."

Moving to Grady

Thomas has been cleared to travel by ambulance from NC to Grady Memorial Trauma Center. They are leaving now. His mom, Virginia will be riding in the ambulance with him. They are expected to arrive at Grady around 8:30pm.

Thomas' condition is stable.

More... 1:26pm EST

It is serious damage to Thomas' nerve endings that has him comatose for an undetermined period of time.  While he is not in any immediate danger of internal bleeding, he has suffered a very devastating accident with an unknown outcome.  The doctors have told Virginia and Jim that he could remain in a coma indefinitely.  He is young and strong, which will help, and, of course, prayer will help most of all.  We want to storm the gates of heaven for this family who means so much to us all.    It is hoped Thomas will be moved to Grady Hospital in Atlanta later today. Unfortunately, latest word from Jim (11am) was that transfer has not been approved by their insurance carrier - Blue Cross/Blue Shield. They are in a holding pattern with medical transport and drivers ready. 

On behalf of Jim and Virginia

As you may be aware, Thomas S. (Jim and Virginia’s youngest son) had an accident while snowboarding with the Scouts on Sunday morning. He is currently at Mission Hospital near the Biltmore in Ashville, North Carolina. The family is in the process of preparing to have him transported to Grady today. Since the accident he has not been conscious though he responds to stimulation. The physicians have implanted a monitoring device to track brain activity. Jim says that at this point the prognosis is good, but that there may be a long recovery period. Where ever you are at the moment, please share prayer for Thomas, his brother Daniel, Jim and Virginia. In the hours and days ahead, please continue to bathe Thomas, the family, and care providers in prayer that Thomas recovers fully and quickly from this head trauma. While your thoughts and prayer are encouraged, the family desires no phone calls during this period.

Monday Morning - Jan 31, 2011

Jim reports Thomas' condition is consistent but stable. They are anticipating transfer today to Grady Hospital where the Emory physicians are expecting him.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Update From Thomas' Family

Troop 77, and friends...

In case you have not heard, one of our Scouts, Thomas S., was badly hurt this weekend in a snowboarding accident.
Though wearing a helmet, Thomas suffered serious head trauma due to a moving fall and has been unconscious since. Please keep Thomas in your thoughts and prayers. During this difficult time, Jim and Virginia ask that we please refrain form calling them, as they are passing along information to Me (Gary), and others which we will get out as soon as possible. I will be handling Troop email for the foreseeable future.

The latest word from Virginia's Facebook page (being updated by a friend as possible) is:
"Virginia has no way to update via FB or email. Here is the latest from Virgina:
Thanks for all the prayers! We are very pleased with Mission hospital and staff in Asheville. Thomas remains sedated and on a ventilator.
Of course I have been praying for the diagnosis of a concussion, but after meeting with the doctor just now it appears to be much more serious.
Thomas' condition is 'diffuse axonal shearing in both hemispheres and is likened to those who've been in a severe car crash.
Of course exact prognosis is currently unknown - it's just too early - but we've been told to prepare for a long term recovery. The hospital is preparing to transfer Thomas to Emory's spinal cord injury unit in Atlanta on Monday or as soon as possible.
Pray for Thomas, please."

We will post information here as it becomes available about Thomas on

Last names are intentionally being removed on the blog. Please look here for the latest or Virginia's FB page if you are connected to her there. She is unable to process friend requests at this time, so please do not request them for info - look to the blog instead as I will post what the family asks me to share.

Yours in Scouting,
Troop 77