Young Westmont cancer patient shares his positive spirit with others
|Manning School second grader Tommy Niemeyer smiles as his tutor, fifth grade teacher Laura Hays, talks about his hard work rallying the school community to participate in a toy drive for sick children during an assembly at the school on Dec. 20. Niemeyer has been battling brain cancer, and was able to collect over 600 toys for the Ronald McDonald House at Loyola Univerity Hopsital. (Photo by Matthew Piechalak)|
In the past six months, Tommy Niemeyer has gone through a lot for a kid.
The second-grader at Manning Elementary School in Westmont has had surgery and treatment for a brain tumor that was found last summer, keeping him out of school for months.
But during his treatment, he thought not only about himself and getting back to school, but about the other children who were also in the hospital with him at Loyola University Medical Center.
To give something back, he came up with the idea of organizing a toy drive to benefit the children of the hospital.
Through Tommy’s goal, he and the school’s student council were able to donate more than 600 toys to the Ronald McDonald House at Loyola.
“When I was in the hospital, I saw that the other kids there needed more toys to play with,” Tommy said. “I decided to help them out with a toy drive, and asked my family and friends at Manning for help.”
From his mission, the Tommy’s Truckload of Toys Toy Drive was born, and the school held the drive during the month of December, capping it with an assembly Dec. 20 to reveal the results of the effort.
The drive collected 668 toys, all of which will be donated to the hospital’s Ronald McDonald House.
Tommy was really happy with the results.
“It went great. I’m very happy with it,” he said.
Tommy was a normal kid until June 2012, when he began to have headaches. After some tests, it was discovered he had a brain tumor, and went through surgery and chemotherapy. During this time, he worked with tutors and did much of his classwork during treatment. He was able to go back to school in December, said his father, Dan Niemeyer.
While he was in treatment, Tommy also made a video to promote the toy drive, asking his classmates to participate. The video was shown in the classes during the month of December.
Putting himself above others is the kind of child that Tommy his, said his mother, Karen Niemeyer, a fourth-grade teacher at Manning. Instead of complaining about why he got sick, Tommy’s focus was on helping the other young patients at the hospital get more toys to help boost their spirits during their hospital stay, she said.
“He’s just that kind of kid, putting others before himself,” she said. “Even before he was sick, he always wanted to find ways to help other children in need. This gave him something to focus on during his treatment, which I think really helped keep his spirits up.”
Niemeyer said he is felling much better — his parents said he is a happy and energetic kid. He is still receiving proton treatment for the cancer, and his family is hopeful that he can make a full recovery.
More News News
- District 210 passes proposed tax levy
- Glen Ellyn trustee resigns to pursue out-of-state career opportunity
- Police reports: La Grange, La Grange Park, Western Springs and Westchester for Dec. 18
- D-205 board passes $103M tax levy
- Police reports: Brookfield and Lyons for Dec. 18