Tommy Forsythe

Tommy Forsythe was first treated at the University of Maryland Medical Center for AML and ALL leukemia in February 2008. After a stay at another hospital for a bone marrow transplant, he returned to UMMC for treatment for an infection at the hyperbaric chamber in the Shock Trauma Center. It was there he met Donna Audia, a nurse on Shock Trauma's pain management team and a certified Reiki master who performed Reiki on Tommy. Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation. It is said to improve the results of medical treatments, shorten healing time, and reduce pain. Not only did this healing modality ease Tommy's symptoms, but it also inspired him so much that he decided to become a Reiki master himself. Tommy's mother Laura shares their story below.

Tommy was due to go on a sledding trip with his family on February 16, 2008. But three days before the trip, his world took a turn for the worse. After a few weeks of intermittent fever and lethargy, Tommy was diagnosed with childhood acute myeloid leukemia (AML). He was 11 years old at the time. Chemotherapy started immediately with Dr. Teresa York at the University of Maryland Medical Center's Children's Hospital.

In March, his diagnosis took another turn when it was confirmed that he also had childhood acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). He needed a bone marrow transplant. All prayers were answered when his sister Kaylea was found to be a 100 percent match for Tommy's transplant.

After four months on the pediatric floor at UMMC, Tommy went to another hospital to have the bone marrow transplant. He spent four more months in that hospital only to discover that he needed to come back to UMMC for treatment of an infection in the renowned hyperbaric chamber at the Shock Trauma Center.

It was back at UMMC that Tommy met Donna Audia. A Shock Trauma nurse and Reiki master, Donna came into the room with a beautiful singing bowl and led us on a wonderful healing Reiki meditation. Tommy started to use Reiki right away. With the Reiki, Tommy finally had some power over the pain; he was hooked and wanted to become a Reiki master that very day. Donna did a few Reiki treatments on Tommy and then gave him his attunement (the instruction for self Reiki) to Reiki.

After eight months of hospitalization, Tommy came home and continued to work on his healing and began training to become a Reiki master.

The journey back to health and wellness was long. Tommy's determination was and is still palpable to the many new friends he made at UMMC as well as a wonderful team of family and friends at home. Currently, Tommy goes back to UMMC to give Reiki to the nurses through a wonderful new program called Reiki From the Heart. In January Tommy, now age 13, will become a Reiki Master, will soon head into high school and continue his love of all things Zen!

For more information on Reiki from the Heart, e-mail [email protected]

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