Meet Thad, your January Butterfly Buddy!!
Thad is a typical 11-year-old boy in many ways - he loves to play video games, is constantly snacking, and he tolerates his older brother, Jonah. He has a great sense of humor and he loves to ski. But Thad has had a few more challenges throughout his life than your typical child. At the age of three he developed a limp and a thought-to-be-benign tumor was found on his sciatic nerve. After surgery to remove the tumor, they discovered that it was cancerous, and it grew back within three months. Thad was four years old when he began chemo and radiation treatments. At the age of five he underwent a second surgery to once again remove the tumor, and this time, his sciatic nerve with it.
Thad has had to relearn how to walk seven times between the time he first learned, through his two removal surgeries, multiple corrective surgeries, and one broken leg. He jokes that he’s going to have a celebration when he’s hit the tenth time!!
“Because everything is a little bit harder for him, anything that we can do to keep him motivated and involved in physical activities that he enjoys is so important to help him regain his strength and the movement in his leg,” Aissa, Thad’s mom, shares.
Following Thad’s treatment, he was able to begin a therapeutic horseback riding program thanks to your support. Aissa remembers seeing him standing on a horse - a technique to help him build balance and strength in his leg - and thinking of it as a turning point in their journey. “When you first get this diagnosis everything seems like it could be the end of the world– will his leg need to be amputated? Will he be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life? Watching him standing on a horse, and watching him ski now, has really brought me a lot of peace as a parent, and perspective that there's a lot of different ways to live beyond my tiny scope as a person with two functioning legs.”
Now, Thad hits the slopes thanks to your donations, which pay for adaptive ski lessons so Thad can be on the mountain with his family. Aissa is so grateful for the continued support of the Love Bus community that allows her family to do “normal family things” together.
Thank you for your tremendous support which delivers comfort and quality of life to children like Thad!