Join 13-Year-Old Bryan Thomas As He Takes His First Public Steps
Last June, Bryan Thomas was celebrating his eighth grade graduation when he leaned over and told a friend, “I have a headache.”
Fast forward a few hours, and the then 12-year-old was whisked from his classmate’s slumber party to Boston Children’s Hospital, where his family learned he might never make it out. He had suffered a massive brain hemorrhage due to an arteriovenous malformation—a tangled web of veins and arteries in his brain—that had gone undetected since birth.
Despite that grim prognosis, Thomas did make it out of the hospital—but only after a coma, several emergency surgeries, and six months of rehabilitation. Slowly but surely, though, he regained his ability to walk, talk, read, and write.
Now, Thomas is giving back by taking his first public steps at Boston Children’s’ Eversource Walk for Kids, a fundraiser taking place June 12 at the DCR Hatch Shell. He’s already raised almost $28,000 from his ever-growing team of local supporters, surpassing his initial goal by 280 percent. Roughly half of those funds will circulate back to his care providers and the Boston Children’s staff.
“My family and I had a lot of help going through what I did,” he explains. “We weren’t alone—it was like a team effort, where I felt like I had this whole team on my side, rooting for me. I can’t say [enough about] how amazing my care was there. I never met a single person who wasn’t super helpful and easy to have a conversation with.”
Thomas says it only made sense, then, that expressing his gratitude for the hospital’s work would be a group effort as well. “I’d lay awake thinking of ways I could thank them,” he remembers. When he heard about the Eversource Walk, it seemed like the perfect start. “I want everyone to help me make sure they stay the number one pediatric hospital,” he says.
Thomas’ goal isn’t only to give back to the hospital that saved his life. He says he’d also like to find ways to help other people who have endured life-altering traumas, giving them the same kind of support he received at Children’s.
“I’d love to talk to anyone who has gone through a traumatic experience, because I know how much it means to make them feel less alone,” he says. “I’ve been able to do that recently, so I think I would really like a career helping others.”
You can donate or walk with Thomas by visiting his team page, here. He recommends raising at least $200, but encourages anyone to join regardless of fundraising.