Throughout the years, many heartwarming stories have touched our hearts, but the one about Tomm Tennent is one of a kind.
When he was born, Tomm had excessive skin. As a matter of fact, he had enough skin to cover a 5-year-old boy instead of a newborn. He was delivered so wrinkled that doctors said they had never seen anyone like him before.
“When he came out I was quite shocked (…) I didn’t think a human, or a little baby, could ever look like that,” Geoff Tennent, Tomm’s dad told 60 Minutes Australia in 2003.
Since the day of his birth, the Tennent family had quite a journey growing up with their unique boy, but when you see him today, it’s hard to keep your tears…
A unique child
When Tomm was born in 1993, the family realized that he was going to be one of a kind.
But before birth, they didn’t know the boy would come in this world described as a medical mystery. However, ultrasounds showed that something is up with him…
When they first heard about it, Tomm’s parents didn’t know if they would keep the child.
”We sort of discussed this between us, and we decided what’s meant to be is meant to be and we went through with it,” Tomm’s dad, Geoff Tennent, said.
Despite all the tests and examinations, they couldn’t imagine the severity of Tomm’s condition. His parents admitted that they were very surprised when they first saw him.
Debbie Tennent was shocked when her son was placed on her in the delivery room.
“My heart came up to my throat, but at the same time it was lovely to pick him up and cuddle him,” she said.
To medical experts, the boys condition was yet an unsolved mystery. They couldn’t figure out what caused the excessive skin and they had no cure nor treatment. At first they hoped he would grow to fit in his skin as he got older.
But Tomm was so unique that researchers decided to put in effort and funds to solve the mystery behind his condition.
In total, Tomm spend two and a half months, going from tests to analysis and vice versa. It was a huge challenge to discover the underlying cause for his condition since he was the first child on record born with so much excessive skin.
To the Tennent family it was harsh going from one test to another. No parent wishes for their newborn to go from one test to another after delivery, but they knew that this was best for the little one, as well to future families who might stumble upon the same problem.
They made sure that Tomm will feel no different than the rest of the children.
Experts did everything they could to find the trigger to Tomm’s condition, and after digging deeper they finally found something unexpected. Tomm looked similar to the dog breed Shar Pei and that discovery led them to some shocking answers.
Researchers discovered that Tomm’s level of Hyaluronic acid found in skin was 100x higher than normal, which was the case with Shar Pei puppies.
When Shar Peis puppies grow up, the levels of Hyaluronic acid drops – leaving them with normal skin appearance. Doctors hoped and prayed that would be the case for Tomm.
According to his doctor, Dr. Andrew Ramsden, the condition would probably disappear as Tomm got older. And luckily, he was right.
Tomm faced some challenges growing up, especially when he started school. Some children didn’t want to play with him and teased him. But Tomm wasn’t discouraged by his uniqueness.
It didn’t take long for Tomm to make friends and become fully integrated into his school. Even though he still looked different, it wasn’t as bad as when he was born.
In 2003 they asked Tomm if he was worried about how his friends looked at him. Tomm said: “Not really (…) because they are my friends and they don’t really care how I look like.”
Tomm also told 60 Minutes that when he viewed himself in the mirror he saw “a kind loving person.”
“Sometimes they (people) say I look cool, sometimes they say I look really cool, and sometimes they don’t say anything.”
Tomm’s parents were so proud of their special son and how he developed himself to be.
“He’s a good boy” (…) All he has achieved … he is doing good at school, he is doing good at everything,” his dad said.
His parents always made sure that he will be raised like a normal child, and excessive skin has nothing to do with the beauty that comes from within.
Tomm Tennent today
It’s been 28 years since the unique boy that amazed doctors was born. After number of documentaries and hundreds of tests done on Tomm, people wanted an update of how he looked today.
Looking at his social media he is not really active on the subject, but it appears that Tomm is happily married to the love of his wife, Hannah. They seem to live in Frankston, a suburb of Melbourne in Victoria, Australia.
”Life’s simple. You make choices, and you don’t look back” is a quote Tomm posted on his Facebook profile that probably sums up his mindset and whole life.
It’s heartwarming to see Tomm with the same wonderful smile 20 years ago.
Tomm’s story is so inspiring! I’m truly happy to see that he grew up to be happy and fulfilled person despite all his shortcomings as a child.
When they asked him what he would change about himself, he answered: “Probably nothing.” Isn’t that how we should all view ourselves?
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