Youth granted trip through Make-A-Wish

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks Jacob Thomson, 9, of Clovis packs away his stuffed dolphin, Monday for his trip to Florida, that was sponsored by the Make-A-Wish foundation and Faith Christian Family Church. This trip has been planned since his last stay in the hospital in April.

By Eric Butler: CNJ correspondent

If 9-year-old Jacob Thomson knew anything else, his primary wish might be to live a life without constant hospital visits for cystic fibrosis treatment.

As it is, the Clovis youngster was tabbed by the Make-A-Wish Foundation of New Mexico to have another wish come true. Thomson and his family will fly to Orlando, Fla., on Monday for a week, which includes a trip to Disney World.

Thomson is also hoping to swim with dolphins and sand sharks while at Sea World during the trip.

“Because I like sharks,” said Thomson, who also has some hearsay information from classmates at Highland Elementary about Disney World. “That it’s fun — just from some people in my school.”

Thomson was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis in 2001 at 2 years old. He was hospitalized when doctors suspected he suffered from pneumonia and/or a colon blockage. Other problem areas were also discussed by physicians.

“The surgeon, the night before the (appendectomy) surgery, talked about some other conditions and thought that he might have CF,” said Mike Thomson, Jacob’s father. “They tested him for it, he came out positive and we’ve been dealing with it ever since.”

Things got worse for the Thomson family, which at the time included older sister Tori and mom Ronnica.

A year after Jacob was discovered to have cystic fibrosis, Ronnica Thomson was diagnosed with colon cancer.

Just before Jacob Thomson’s sixth birthday, his mother died from the disease.

“That’s why he always wears that yellow bracelet. It’s a Live Strong bracelet and he wears it in memory of his mother,” Mike Thomson said.

One of Jacob’s lingering thoughts of his mom is watching the program Extreme Makeover Home Edition with her.

After church members brought the case of Jacob Thomson to the attention of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, his first wish was to have the television show perform its makeover magic on his home. The trip to Disney World was his second pick.

“We’re very excited to be able to provide Jacob and his family this trip,” said Jamie Schwebach, wish manager for Make-A-Wish Foundation of New Mexico.

She said Make-A-Wish Foundation of New Mexico granted 105 wishes during its most recent fiscal year in 2006-2007.

Jacob, whose favorite subject in school is math and who has spent three years learning karate, is part of the reconstituted Thomson family — after Mike married current wife Michelle and brought her children (Renee, James and Nicolas) into the fold.

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Treatments to combat the disease are a constant part of Jacob’s life.

His regimen includes having to take 36 pills, four breathing treatments, two chest pat therapy sessions and chest percussion therapy.

And that’s a daily regimen.

Once or twice every year, Jacob also has to be in the hospitalized for extended stays.

“We do what’s called tuneups. It’s a mandatory 14-day stay,” said Mike Thomson, who prefers to have them done in Clovis rather than Albuquerque.

“Last time Jacob was in the hospital, Hank Baskett came here and saw him, the varsity basketball team came to see him as well as the varsity swim team,” his father said. “When you’re at home, you get more visitors to where it doesn’t make the hospital stay as boring.”

Without the large dosage of pills, Thomson adds that Jacob’s lungs could fill up with mucous and cause further complications.

But hope is ever-present with the Thomson family, despite the hardships already endured.

“He’s very used to hospitals, not just with him but with what he had to deal with because of his mom,” Mike Thomson said. “There’s lots of technology and studies out there and they continue to tell us, with gene therapy, that maybe in the next 10 years there will be a cure. It’s getting closer and closer, I believe.”