In the summer of 2018, just before he entered his senior year of high school, Thomas began to experience visual loss. Unable to correct this with glasses, his doctor ordered lab work and a CT scan. On September 20th, a large mass was discovered in Thomas's brain. It was wrapped around his pituitary and hypothalamus as well as tangled into his optic nerves. He then spent 15 days at Buffalo General Hospital, 8 of them in the ICU, underwent two brain surgeries, and met with seven different specialists to coordinate his ongoing care. Upon discharge from the hospital, he was diagnosed with an Intracranial Germinoma, diabetes insipidus, acute adrenal insufficiency, acquired hypothyroidism, and vision loss. Four rounds of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation followed.
The diagnosis and treatment were just the mere beginning of a very long road ahead. The journey to healing has been, and promises to be, a long one. Unable to monitor and care for himself independently, Thomas has needed twenty-four hour care. His endocrine system has been very slow to heal. His vision has ever so slightly improved since the surgeries and treatments, however recently he was declared legally blind, and has begun visual rehabilitation to learn to navigate his "new normal." Thomas's step father, Matthew, left his job to care for Thomas's daily needs.
Thomas is the eldest of four children, loves music, is a true Buffalo sports fanatic, and enjoys the outdoors. Determined to finish his senior year of high school, Thomas is finishing his credits this summer with the help of an in-home instruction tutor.
And despite all of these road bumps along his life's path, Thomas continues to lead his life with a grateful heart and a faithful spirit. He is so deeply appreciative of every prayer that has made each of his breaths possible. Please consider a shirt purchase or donation to his online fundraiser.
Casey Riordan (b. 1973) is a multimedia artist best known for her character, Shark Girl, who has exhibited her work throughout the midwest and east coast of the US. Casey received her BFA, in painting, from Ohio University, in 1994, as well as a MA in mental health counseling from the University of Cincinnati in 2019.
Her work resides in the private collections of the Cincinnati Art Museum and Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, Ohio and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York.
Casey resides in Cincinnati, Ohio where she currently maintains her studio practice and is the mental health counselor at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, a private art college.
The West Herr Auto Group is the largest automotive vehicle retailer in New York. West Herr has 23 dealerships, 4 collision centers, and proudly employs over 2,000 Western New Yorkers.