Tuesday, November 9, 2010

In Memory of Erin Thomas

A wonderful person died this morning, and I am still in shock. Erin Thomas was a dwarf with Achondroplasia, the same diagnosis as Caitlin. I met her three years ago on Facebook via mutual friends and we've become good friends over the years, bantering about football and politics, both of which we disagreed on, and trading notes/insights on raising kids with dwarfism where we had much more in common. Her husband has SEDc, a more rare diagnosis, and both her children were dwarfs as well. Her son, Joseph, had lost his battle with medical complications in 2007 which had led Erin and her husband to start the Joseph Thomas Foundation which supported other medically fragile kids and their families. Erin's daughter Emma, a feisty little girl who had inherited both her parents' diagnoses, had just gotten her trach removed that she'd lived with her whole life because she no longer needed it, and had gotten to actually go swimming for the first time ever this summer. Today is her birthday, in fact.

Erin had also just come into her own as a parent advocate with a presentation she made at the regional conference for District 12 of the Little People of America last April in Valencia, CA. Her presentation had gone so well that there was talk of her getting involved with the national organization, providing support to parents who needed advice. She and her husband had also just opened their hearts and home to three new kids who didn't have families of their own, including a 17 year old average height boy who had immediately become the ultimate big brother to Emma.

I don't know any actual details at this point, but what I do know that John went to wake up Erin this morning, and discovered that she had died in her sleep overnight. To the best of my knowledge, and that of many of her friends (several of whom had just spoken with her yesterday) nobody suspected that anything was wrong, and certainly nobody thought something like this was a possibility.

I am still in shock and mourning, as are the many people that she touched in her life. Her humor, her lively personality, and her insight will be sorely missed.

Good night, sweet Erin/And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest. And give Joseph a hug for all of us when you get there.
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