A native of Newton, Iowa, Tom is known throughout his hometown for his love and dedication to the community. Always eager to lend a hand, he has volunteered with Boy Scouts of America for 20 years, Newton Football for over 15 years, Newton Community Theatre for 25 years, and First Presbyterian Church – which his family has been attending for six generations – for 20 years. After working for Maytag in Newton for three decades, Tom now spends his days surrounded by students, teaching and coaching at his alma mater Newton High School.
Born with a diseased throat however, Tom has faced a lifetime of health issues.
Married for 35 years, the father and now grandfather first discovered a lump on his throat just days after he said, “I do.” The lump was later diagnosed as cancer. Since Tom's original diagnosis, he has fought and beat cancer several times. The strain of treatment and numerous surgeries over the past three decades have taken their toll, resulting in a multitude of complications.
In 2009 Tom had his larynx removed, losing the ability to speak without the aid of a voice box. He also has a tracheostomy tube, which despite previous hopes and efforts, is now a permanent part of his life due to complications with scar tissue.
Tom is now undergoing a series of surgeries to try to open the path of his esophagus which has closed to a little over three millimeters – less than one-sixth the size of the average esophageal opening – making it nearly impossible to eat or drink.
This fall alone, Tom has already had four corrective surgeries at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, and is expected to undergo several more. While the surgeries have done little to slow Tom down – coaching a football game just 24 hours after his last surgery – the bills are rapidly piling up.
Insurance covers countless costs in medical expenses, but there is so much that is left for the family to account for, including the cost for the time spent traveling to and from Mayo.
For those who would like to help the family, all contributions will be greatly appreciated and humbly accepted, and will go towards Tom's medical and travel expenses.
Thank you in advance for your generous donation, and please keep Tom and his loved ones in your thoughts and prayers. And As Tom would say, "I make this happen. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't thank my lucky stars that I'm here... while you're on this earth, enjoy it for what it's worth.”
- Mike Creagan
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