When he was just a baby, Thomas was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy. SMA is a motor neuron disease that affects all of the muscles in the body but most severely attacks the shoulders, hips and back. When it affects the respiratory muscles, children become at high risk for developing pneumonia and other lung problems. Thomas is confined to a wheelchair and often requires oxygen. He has developed scoliosis and has recently had rods inserted in his back. The scoliosis has compressed his lungs and Thomas’s lungs have collapsed several times. He requires constant medical supervision.
As if a magic wand had been waved over it, a basic 10-foot-by-10-foot outdoor shed was transformed into a finished clubhouse complete with landscaping, glass windows, wood flooring, electricity and painted walls adorned with train decor. In order to accommodate Thomas’ wheelchair, ramps and railing were installed, the entrance was widened and the center of the room was left clear of obstructions. Model train shelving was installed around the entire room for the railroad track and accessories, leaving a large space in the middle for Thomas to move about and view every inch of his model railroad.
Thomas just adores his new clubhouse! In fact, his father says that he has had to talk his son into moving some of his bedroom furnishings out of the train shed and back into their home. “Thomas would live out there if he could.” He continued, “When people ask him how he likes his train shed, he says he’s really happy about it. He plans to have his home-school lessons out there.”