Hey everyone, I am kind of at a loss as to where to begin. First of all, I could honestly say I would not have come close to making it this far without the amazing outpouring of love, well wishes, prayers and support from the amazing people I have been lucky enough to surround myself with through the years.
It all started in April one day when I was leaving the gym and noticed a rash on my hand. I was feeling a little under the weather, weak and achy. I monitored that and saw my doctor but nothing was determined as to what was causing this. As the days progressed, so did my condition. I was in a tremendous amount of pain and awaiting upcoming appointments with various specialists. By May 8, I was unable to work any longer.
During this time I saw some of the best doctors and would not change a thing about that. On about June 13 I was preliminarily diagnosed with Dermatomyositis. It is a very rare and uncommon auto immune disease that attacks the muscles, lungs, skin, among many other things that assist the everyday bodily functions. At that time I was put on a strong course of steroids to treat the symptoms. Unfortunately within the next four days my lungs were unable to function without oxygen and I was in poor shape.
I'm down about 50 pounds in weight but attribute the fact that I am still here to my previous state of health being on the really good side. Two weeks ago today I ended up in Martin Memorial Medical Center. From there I had undergone surgeries, biopsies and suffered some setbacks. I was transferred to the University of Miami Hospital a week later. There is a staff of incredible doctors who have been deemed experts on my condition. I did have some setbacks as I arrived and it took the better part of a week to get me to this point which I'm about to undergo.
Tonight I embark upon a journey that is one of the scariest ones of my life. I am left with no other option but to undergo an extremely aggressive form of chemo that will hopefully attack what is attempting to destroy my lungs and take me out of this fight. There will be no answers as to how quick or well I will respond to this but hopefully within 7-10 days there will be some sort of way to judge my progress and extent of damage.
Guys, please understand that this is not intended to make anyone feel bad for me or get anyone upset. I just wanted to let everyone know how I am, how I'm feeling about the entire process and how much I appreciate everyone's love, prayers and support in this fight. I am confident that I will not stop fighting as long as everyone continues to provide me with the prayers necessary to continue on.
Until soon my friends, God bless each and every one of you and your families. I WILL SEE YOU SOON!
(written by Tommy, while in the hospital, right before he was going to undergo aggressive treatment for dermatomyositis and interstitial lung disease)
Laurie and Dana, Co-founders, Team Tommy Foundation
Board of Directors
We are very happy to announce that as of January 2015 Team Tommy Foundation has grown and now has a Board of Directors team comprised of phenomenal individuals.
Co-Founder & Community Relations Chair - Dana Worthington
Co-Founder & Administrative Director - Laurie Boyer
Treasurer - George Worthington
Public Relations Chair - Deb Pizzimenti
Recording Secretary - Michelle Leckenbusch
Website Monitor - Danielle Gajewski
Marketing Chair - Laura Pfundstein
Health Awareness Coordinators - Jodie Certosimo & Jes Courtemanche
Throughout Tommy's stay at the hospital we had the opportunity to be by Tommy's side down in Miami. We would take turns each night staying by his bedside to ensure he was comfortable and with his family. We became known as "Team Tommy" by the staff and they would keep us in the loop so we could help Tommy.
After being diagnosed with Dermatomyositis Tommy was transferred to the University of Miami Hospital for specialized care. It was during this time that he received an outpouring of love and support from friends and family. He was overwhelmed by the support and realized that the term "FAMILY" is more than just those related by blood. His "FAMILY" grew to include friends, coworkers and our community.
Tommy felt that having his family by his bedside at all times gave him the strength to fight his battle. He vowed that one day he would start a foundation to help others and to give back. Unfortunately, Tommy passed away five weeks after being hospitalized. We (Dana - his wife and Laurie - his sister) are determined to honor his wishes and co-founded Team Tommy.
Team Tommy was established to provide financial assistance to families with Myositis diseases, finance research, and promote awareness.
BOD members at Team Tommy BINGO Benefit at Santa Lucia River Club. (from L to R) Laura, Michelle, George, Laurie, Dana, Jesica, Danielle. Not pictured: Jodie & Deb.
Board members in New Orleans at The Myositis Association's Annual Patient Conference.