Channahon youth brought joy to all around him
By Denise Baran-Unland Correspondent January 20, 2013 5:30PM
Updated: February 22, 2013 6:07AM
Because of his severe disabilities, Timmy Davis, 11, of Channahon could only communicate by blinking his eyes and smiling.
But through Timmy’s calm acceptance of life, his parents Tim and Kelly Davis are stronger people, his siblings and cousins are caring and thoughtful children and the pediatric and palliative care program at Joliet Area Community Hospice has additional funds to help even more young patients.
In 2007, Timmy’s grandmother, Betsy Sullivan of Plainfield, approached hospice and suggested hosting an annual summer garden walk fundraiser in honor of Timmy. The event has raised $50,00 over the six years.
“He could just light up a room. One look could melt your heart. Children swarmed around him,” said Dedria Galik, pediatric case manager at Joliet Area Community Hospice and Timmy’s nurse for five years.
Timmy had polymicrogyria, a rare condition of abnormal prenatal brain development. His symptoms included seizures, cleft lip and palate and developmental disabilities. In addition, Timmy’s right eye was absent, requiring a prosthetic.
Despite challenges, Timmy enjoyed life, especially country music, Disney movies and books. Kelly read to him and his siblings and cousins read to him (and if they were too young to read, they cuddled next to Timmy and turned the pages for him).
No matter what the other children were playing, they always “included” Timmy.
Quilts became superhero capes as they ran around shouting, “Yay! Timmy’s playing with us!” No video match was complete without the addition of a blue flower, a sure sign Timmy was in the game, too.
“He taught the children that people with disabilities shouldn’t be treated any differently,” Tim said.
Timmy attended school at United Cerebral Palsy in Joliet five days a week, fought against his disabilities by working hard at his various therapies and accompanied his parents on shopping trips and social events.
“His parents made sure Timmy had as normal a life as someone with disabilities can have,” Dedria said. “Whenever I’m having a bad day, I think, ‘I’m able to walk, talk and breathe on my own. What on earth do I have to complain about?’”
In 2009, Timmy took a six-day dream vacation to Disney World in Florida, courtesy of Panera Bread, in conjunction with Make-A-Wish Foundation. He went to Epcot, rode handicapped-accessible rides, posed with his favorite characters, enjoyed the dolphins at Sea World and even browsed Daytona Beach’s thrift stores. Dedria accompanied the family on the trip.
It is no understatement that Timmy touched many lives up to the day of his Dec. 16 death and will be deeply missed.
“He was a caring boy even though he couldn’t express it verbally,” Kelly said. “I held him as much as I could. If he fell asleep in my arms while I was reading him a book, it really made my day.”
Contact Denise M. Baran-Unland at
815-467-5249 or firstname.lastname@example.org.