Helping Thomas lead a full life

By andreasvendsen on July 2, 2014
Thomas Cargill

Thomas Cargill, mum Jo, and little brother Henry.

Thomas Cargill was a completely healthy and happy little boy until he reached three years old.

Then his mum Jo, who is a sales consultant for Harcourts Dunedin, and dad Jamie noticed their son was becoming uncharacteristically tired and wobbly on his feet.

Jo and Jaime took Thomas to the doctor, he was hospitalised and within days had lost the ability to walk, talk or even sit up.

Thomas has mitochondrial disease, which is a complex genetic disorder that essentially caused the little boy to suffer a massive stroke.

It stripped Thomas of his muscular strength, his motor skills and required the once energetic toddler to be carried home from hospital.

That was three years ago, and today Thomas, through shear courage and determination, is strong enough to attend a mainstream school with the help of a dedicated teacher’s aide.

And thanks to help from the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation, Thomas, and other disabled children, are able to have a go at a variety of physical activities they would unlikely be able to otherwise.

Jo says Halberg make things possible that, from the outside, are often seen as too challenging.

The foundation holds regular Sunday sports for the disabled, and also organise a ski trip, which Thomas will be taking part in.

“It’s so important for Thomas to be active and to know he’s not the only one who has a disability. I’m truly thankful to Halberg for enabling disabled kids to have a go.”

Jo says Thomas is an amazing fighter, who despite his disabilities, is optimistic and incredibly determined.

“It blows me away how happy he is. He does get frustrated at times that his body can’t do what he wants it to do, but overall he is happy and lives life at 110%.”

Mitochondrial disease can be an episodic disorder, which means there is a chance Thomas may suffer another stroke or major event.

Jo says her family chooses not to focus on the “what ifs”, and instead enjoys every day with each other.

“If there is one thing I have learnt from everything that has happened to Thomas is that there is nothing more important in life than family. There is really nothing else that matters. I’m so lucky to have two amazing sons, and Thomas is my fighter. I’m in awe of him.”

The Harcourts Foundation is an official partner of the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation. Harcourts offices from around the country make regular contributions to the Harcourts Foundation, 20% of which go to the Halberg Disability Sport Foundation.