Buzzards Bay, Mass. -- Seven-year-old Thomas Schmid gets his kicks in a lot of ways.
Whether it’s playing Mario Galaxy 2, building trains or watching his idol Batman, Thomas is constantly surrounded by his favorite things that bring him great joy and happiness.
His father Adam, a lieutenant in the United States Coast Guard, is a member of the Massachusetts Maritime family, having graduated from the Academy in 1999. Thomas is the oldest of Adam and Abby Schmid’s children, joining siblings Joey (5), Penny (3) and Rusty (1). The Schmids reside in Marshfield and are a vibrant part of their community.
And while Thomas gets his kicks in ways that most seven-year-olds do, he is, at the same time, kicking and fighting against a disease that has limited his physical abilities but has not dampened his spirit.
When he was four, Thomas began to experience pain in his legs, and both Adam and Abby noticed he was being less active, so much so that it progressed to the point where he couldn’t stand because he was so weak. In October 2012, Thomas was diagnosed with Mitochondrial Myopathy, a disease that contains energy within cells and impact muscle strength and development. While there is no cure for Mitochondrial Myopathy, Thomas has changed many aspects of his lifestyle and has improved his everyday life greatly. Those changes, along with his incredible enthusiasm and determination, make him a fighter and a truly inspirational young man.
Today, Thomas Schmid became a member of the Buccaneer family as well, as he gained a whole new band of brothers who will walk with him side-by-side to help him kick Mitochondrial Myopathy and its limitations away.
Thomas joined the Massachusetts Maritime men’s soccer program through the Department of Athletics’ on-going partnership with Team IMPACT, a non-profit organization based in Quincy that partners with colleges and universities across the region to improve the quality of life for children facing adverse issues and events by establishing and expanding vibrant, team-based support networks. Massachusetts Maritime is one of over 30 institutions in New England that are part of the Team IMPACT family, standing with such schools as Boston College, Brown, Harvard and Northeastern as proud partners in the program. Over the last two years, the Buccaneers have welcomed Forestdale resident Teddy McGowan to the men’s lacrosse program, Falmouth’s Tyler Smith to the baseball squad and Marshfield resident Michael Hebert to the football team.
Thomas was welcomed onto campus by a police escort and greeted by his new teammates along with Massachusetts Maritime student-athletes, coaches and administrators. He signed his “letter of intent” to play for veteran Buccaneer Head Coach Greg Perry and kicked it around a little bit with team members, family and friends on the pitch at Clean Harbors Stadium while wearing his favorite uniform number 14.
After guiding the team to one of its best seasons in school history last fall, enthusiasm and excitement are certainly abounding for Perry heading into the upcoming 2014 season, but welcoming Thomas to the program takes that to an even higher level.
“Having Thomas and the entire Schmid family as part of our team is an extremely special and humbling experience for all of us,” Perry, the winningest coach in Buccaneer history, says. “Knowing what he goes through on a daily basis puts any adversity that we face in competition into proper perspective, and it is an unbelievable privilege to have Thomas as a member of our family.”
Matthew McDonough, a freshman from Framingham and an active member of Massachusetts Maritime’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, feels the enthusiasm that Thomas brings to his fellow teammates is contagious, something that bodes well for the Buccaneers both on and off the field.
“Being able to go out and play for Thomas, knowing that he is battling everyday against something he can’t control, is something that we are all looking forward to,” McDonough says. “He inspires all of us to fight for him.”
Thomas Schmid has a whole army of family, friends and brothers by his side as he looks to kick the effects of Mitochondrial Myopathy to the curb. And his new teammates have another goal in mind for their new teammate:
To let Tom know how terrific he is to the Buccaneer soccer family.
For more information on Team IMPACT, please visit www.goteamimpact.org. To follow Thomas’s journey with the Buccaneers this fall, please visit www.mmabucs.com.