(This article is based on information gathered by The Boston Pilot.)
WILMINGTON — Thomas Pote, from Wilmington, a sixth grader at St. Joseph’s School in Wakefield, recently gave back to the hospital that saved his life earlier this year.
Back on June 29, Pote was on Long Island for a lacrosse tournament when he slipped and hit his head at his hotel’s pool. The hit caused a fracture that hit a major artery.
Pote was taken to Nassau University Medical Center by his mother, Paula Cushing-Pote, where he received a CAT scan revealing a four-centimeter brain bleed. Pote was transferred to Cohen Children’s Medical Center, where he received life-saving surgery to stop the bleeding and remove the blood clot.
While recovering, volunteers from Child Life Therapy visited Pote and other patients, playing with the young patients, giving their parents a break if necessary, and providing toys, crafts, board games, and movies. Pote was provided Legos from the organization.
Additionally, Ronald McDonald House of Long Island provided Pote’s mother and other family members with a place to stay until Pote was released from the hospital on July 4, and he returned home.
Grateful for the care they received by the organizations, Pote and his family decided to give back.
“We had realized we were very, very lucky that he was alive. He shouldn't have survived what he'd gone through," Cushing-Pote said in an interview with The Boston Pilot. "We felt that we need to give back for everything the hospital has done for us."
They went about gathering monetary and toy donations first through through Pote’s school. Each month, St. Josephs does a “casual for a cause” day where students can wear clothes other than their uniforms for the day if they donate to a designated charity.
For the first “casual for a cause” day back in September, students paid $2 each and wore the color green in honor of traumatic brain injuries. They raised $305, as well as an additional $100 donation from the school’s gym teacher.
The family sought toy and book donations through the Wilmington and Wakefield community Facebook pages. They received donations from both communities, as well as a donation from Northeastern Fence and Supply Corporation in Saugus that brought the total monetary donation just past $1,000.
On Nov. 25, the family brought the donations back to Nassau University Medical Center and Cohen Children's Medical Center, and they visited with the nurses and doctors that had cared for Pote during his stay.