Poker tourney raises money to help with 6-year-old medical bills -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Poker tourney raises money to help with 6-year-old medical bills


Supporters of a 6-year-old Albany boy battling a serious brain disorder are coming together once more to help with his medical bills. This time, with a Vegas style event.

This may seem like a regular game of poker with friends, but these people have come together to help Thomas Cooper fight a rare disorder.

Deandra Jones helped to organize the Texas Hold ‘Em poker tournament. She was able to get some area businesses to sponsor a table. Because of that, $800 have already been raised that will go towards treatment for Thomas.

"Because everybody has fallen on hard times. Everybody needs help now and then. And if I can have fun and do something I know while helping someone, it just makes it all that more rewarding for me," said Deandra Jones.

Thomas suffers from Arnold Chiari Malformation, where his brain sticks out beneath his skull and puts pressure on his spine.  He has severe pain, suffers from migraines and has problems communicating and running. His grandmother says despite all the pain he goes through, Thomas never complains.

"He's very loving, his very affectionate. He'll just walk up to me out of the clear blue and say "Gran Gran, I'll say what Thomas, he says, I love you," said Phoebe Cooper.

People who have heard the story of Thomas came out to support the family and say there are people who want to help.

"It breaks my heart anytime I see a child going through something like this, But it hit close to home because I know the family and I just want to help as much as I can," said Michelle Roberts.

Phoebe Cooper says Thomas has seen more than 20 doctors trying to find a cure. She says all she can do is have faith that one day Thomas will get the treatment he needs.

"He has his good days and his bad. Sometimes it'll be all in one day. To kind of give people an idea, we never know when he wakes up in the morning if we're going to have Tigger or Eeyore," said Phoebe Cooper.

In June, Thomas and his family will have to travel to Augusta for him to undergo another brain decompression in hopes of relieving some of the pressure off his spine.

Last month, Mayor Hubbard signed a proclamation in honor of Thomas, declaring September, Arnold Chiari Malformation Month. This disorder affects nearly 300,000 Americans and there's no cure.

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