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Anna Thomas receives diploma

Though hospitalized in Lubbock, Anna Thomas, daughter of Ennis Mayor Russell Thomas and wife Nancy, graduated from Texas Tech University last weekend.
Diagnosed Dec. 6 with idiopathic aplastic anemia, a potentially fatal blood condition that will soon necessitate a bone marrow transplant, Thomas was the recipient of a community-wide blood drive yesterday at Ennis Regional Medical Center.
Anna’s attitude is anything but defeatist.
““It’s one of those things,” she said. “You just have to keep praying and hoping.”
There’s been an outpouring of support for the Thomas family from Ennisites since word of Anna’s illness was made public here last week.
Despite concern, there were smiles on the faces of family and friends who attended the brief commencement ceremony Saturday on the fourth floor of University Medical Center.
In their robes (and the masks medical personnel required all guests to wear) Tech President Jon Whitmore and Linda Hoover, Dean of the College of Human Sciences, presented the 21-year-old student with her bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies.
Anna was seated in a wheelchair as she received her diploma.
“It’s one of the most special days of my life,” she told reporter Marlena Hartz of the Lubbock Avalanche Journal. “I’m just an ordinary student. I didn’t do anything to deserve (this special ceremony).”
At Anna’s graduation were her parents and other relatives, her boyfriend James Adams, godmother Gloria Campos, and friends from Ennis, including Gus and Katherine Jones.
Through Campos, an anchor with ABC-TV’s Channel 8 Dallas affiliate, a news crew was on hand to film the commencement. Lubbock media were present, too, and the Jones’ taped a private video of the event. The mayor also took photos.
Anna’s hospital stay is expected to be lengthy although she told guests she hopes to recover soon and return to her internship at Tech’s Center for Recovery and Addiction.
The mayor told the Ennis Daily News that his daughter’s t-cells are attacking her bone marrow and shutting down production of blood cells. Thomas said he is relieved Anna’s condition isn’t cancerous but said she will be undergoing “full-body radiation treatments” to get rid of the bad cells, adding that she will require a bone marrow transplant.
A donor has yet to be found but Anna’s family and friends are praying the wait won’t be long.
“It’s devastating,” Thomas said of his daughter’s illness. “You immediately think of the worst and imagine the worst. And pray to God the donor will come.”
The mayor is asking for prayers from the community, and said the public can establish “blood credits” for her by donating blood in her name. People can also receive blood tests to specify whether they are a possible marrow donor match. Anna is type A-negative, her father said. Another blood drive is being planned for Anna, but details have yet to be released.
(Ennis Daily News staff writer Matt Cook contributed to this report)

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Posted by on Dec 21 2007. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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