Saturday, November 03, 2007

Following Brain surgery, a toddler becomes charity's main focus

Bright-eyed, two-year-old Madeline Thomas inspired charity foundation Caring Hearts Outreach to host a benefit ball this Saturday night after she underwent brain surgery in September.Thomas, the only child of Southlake Police Officer Randy Thomas and local beautician Bethany, was diagnosed with epilepsy when she was 10 months old.

She was given anti-seizure medication until the seizures became too frequent for comfort.“On Aug. 11 she had seven seizures in one day,” Bethany said.Doctors were able to monitor the seizures and conduct an EEG, which determined the seizures were located on the right side of her brain.Madeline underwent a 10-hour brain surgery in September to remove areas on the right side of her brain. The surgery has affected her vision on the left side, vision memory and short term memory.“You can show her a picture of a horse, and she’ll know it’s a horse.

But, if you ask her five minutes later, she won’t remember that it’s a horse,” Bethany said. The doctors hope to evaluate the affects of the surgery over the next six months. During this recovery period, Bethany and Randy are sharing the full-time responsibility of caring for their daughter.Despite the difficulties Madeline has been through in her first two years, Bethany says her daughter has shown strength and resilience that is inspiring.

“You can just see the hope in her eyes,” she said. “She’s been a real trooper throughout.”The Caring Hearts Outreach Foundation was formed by realty company Century 21 and the groups fundraiser benefits a person in need from the community once a year.“This foundation has been set up to bankroll money so that next time something comes up in the community, we are better prepared to offer help,” said Benefit Coordinator Hazel King.

Foundation members heard about Madeline through her grandmother, a former Century 21 real estate agent, and dedicated this benefit to helping her family. Money raised will help pay for Madeline’s medical expenses and the family’s living expenses, since Bethany’s full-time job has been reduced to part-time in order to care for Madeline.“It would be nice to get them $10,000 to help them through this, but even if we could get them $5,000, it would be great,” King said.When Bethany heard about the charity, she was shocked.

“I was amazed. Here my husband and I are, two normal people living in Keller, and it’s amazing to see how much people care,” she said.The Ball, at the Southlake Hilton, features a “Moulin Rouge” theme with several different sponsorship levels named after Parisian monuments. Costume or cocktail attire is encouraged.

Approximately 100 tickets had been sold at press time.At the ball, family, friends, co-workers and members of the community can enjoy a heavy hor-d’oerves buffet, silent and live auctions, live music from Diva G, dancing and a cash bar.Tickets are $100 and on sale through Century 21 Real Estate, and will also be sold at the door. For information or to purchase tickets in advance, call 817-424-3808.Contact Shelley Doggett at 972-628-4076 or


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