Never, never, never, never give up
The Hamilton Spectator
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
“He’s not going to remember you. He’s not going to remember his life,” Rose Ramuscak was told about her then nine-year-old son, Anthony, who had just suffered a severe stroke in his sleep. “He will be a vegetable for the rest of his life. Nothing, nothing, nothing.”
She remembers hearing those words from doctors while Anthony was still in a coma. No one could explain to her why this was happening.
He was a healthy nine-and-a-half-year-old boy growing up in Hamilton until July 23, 1995 — a date his mother throws off her tongue as if it was yesterday.
“He was full of surprises the first nine years of his life,” the single mother said in an interview on CHML. “Never a dull moment. He was flying through life.”
He went to bed one child and woke up another.
The little boy who was once full of life was now fighting for his. Anthony was on life support for four days and in a coma for 10. For one year, he couldn’t move or talk.
It was four days before doctors knew he had suffered a stroke; they were stumped to explain the boy’s sudden turnaround in health.
The mystery of how this happened to a healthy boy is one that still puzzles doctors and the family today.
Once Anthony was stabilized. his mother moved him to the Hugh MacMillan rehab centre in Toronto.
After three months she asked if she could take Anthony home on weekends, “to coach him slowly, slowly back to life.”
Despite working tirelessly to help him, the centre told Rose after a year there was no more they could do for Anthony.They told her to accept the way he was and make plans to move on.
But Rose could see in Anthony’s eyes that “he was still inside.” That’s all she needed for reassurance they could move on together and her son could improve.
From there it was years of multiple therapies. He tried them all, physical therapy, speech therapy, acupuncture, hypnosis.
But three years ago, they found the right therapist who could provide hope for Anthony by relieving the one thing that had crippled him for 14 years: his 24/7 pain.
Once the pain was gone and with extensive rehabilitation, “his body started waking up inch by inch, his body and joints” said the astonished mother. Soon he was more mobile in his wheelchair and embarked on a challenge at Mohawk College, working for his diploma in general arts and sciences.
On his first day at Mohawk, Anthony told his mother, “I’m accepted there, I am recognized. They don’t see a kid in a wheelchair, I’m a student, I’m a person, Mama, I’m an equal, I’m a man.”
His latest wish is to walk across the stage to receive his diploma at the college he and his mother speak so highly of.
Tuesday morning he will do just that when, with the aid of his mother and a cane, Anthony plans to rise out of his wheelchair at his convocation and complete this stage of his dream.
In the fall he will attend Redeemer University College studying Latin, Hebrew and Greek language.
He will not rest until he reaches his next goal, becoming a priest.
Never give up.
The Scott Thompson Show airs weekdays noon to 3 p.m. on News/Talk 900 CHML. ScottThompsonTalk.com