Tommy | 2015-16 Bball Kid Captain

UnityPoint Clinic - Express

180 Jordan Creek Parkway, Suite 120
West Des Moines, Iowa 50266

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UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Altoona

2720 8th St. SW
Altoona, Iowa 50009

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UnityPoint Clinic Urgent Care - Ingersoll

2103 Ingersoll Ave., Ste. 2
Des Moines, Iowa 50312

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Urgent Care - Ankeny

3625 N. Ankeny Blvd.
Suite E
Ankeny, Iowa 50023

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Urgent Care - Lakeview

6000 University Avenue
Suite 101
West Des Moines, Iowa 50266

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Urgent Care - Merle Hay

4020 Merle Hay Road
Suite 100
Des Moines, Iowa 50310

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Urgent Care - Southglen

6520 SE 14th St.
Des Moines, Iowa 50320

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Urgent Care - Urbandale

2901 86th Street
Urbandale, Iowa 50322

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Blank Children's Hospital

Tommy

Adam and Mandy Forkner decided a long time ago that they wouldn't lose their son, Tommy. Tommy and his twin brother, Travis, arrived three weeks prematurely, and Tommy ended up spending the next two weeks of his life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Tragically, Travis ended up passing away at just 6-weeks-old. Then, as Tommy was getting ready to celebrate his first birthday, he was diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome, a genetic condition affecting connective tissues in the body. Adam also has Marfan Syndrome.

"For my husband and me, it was a terrifying time," said Mandy. "After losing Travis and Tommy being diagnosed, we had a lot of sleepless nights."

As Tommy grew, his parents realized he wasn't able to hear. They soon discovered he had a large brain tumor behind his left eardrum. Tommy underwent three surgeries to remove the mass and reconstruct the ear. During this time, he also met with Blank Children's Infectious Disease specialists to help control repeated ear infections.

"Some months, we make between 8-10 trips to the doctor," said Mandy. "Adam and I keep a notebook to help keep each other informed."

At only 6-years-old, Tommy has experienced more than most can image. But, he keeps smiling with his positive outlook and caring demeanor. Tommy willingly explains his hearing aids to his classmates, showing them it's ok to be different. At such a young age, he openly speaks about Marfan Syndrome and how it and the tumors affect his daily life. He's a natural social butterfly, enjoying being outside, playing basketball and spending time with his grandpa Tom. 

"Tommy has the biggest heart of anyone I know. If he sees someone cry, he'll cry too," said Mandy.
The Forkner family takes things day-by-day and remains vigilant about necessary care and medicine. Mandy says that through this, her family values the little things so much  more. 

"Automatically, we tell our kids how much we love them," said Mandy. "We never take anything for granted."