Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Message of Appreciation from the Van Zandt Family Trust

There is no adequate way to thank all of you who gave of yourselves, your time, your money, and your love to our family that has needed help so badly. But…thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Your contributions to the trust over these months, and including most recently the fabulous Tommy’s Nite Out event in Fayetteville, have literally been “manna from heaven” to Tommy, Robyn, Ross and Jack.

We are encouraged and over-whelmed with thankfulness to God and to all of you.

Your generosity is overwhelming, and the family will never forget what you have done for us. Tommy wants everyone to know that he is starting back to work part-time already, and that he is determined to build up income and add value once again to the Sage Partners team at the office.

The contributions to the Family Trust are enough at this time to last for several months to pay family expenses, including nursing care for Tommy. It is my understanding that another “Tommy’s Nite Out Benefit” is being discussed for next year. This is awesome news for the family. Right now we are asking for your prayers for Tommy’s on-going recovery. Please pray also for strength for Robyn, Ross, and Jack. Finally, please pray for Tommy’s care-givers to love and nurture him in his recovery.

If you have not seen or talked with Tommy recently, his attitude continues to be amazing! He is so focused on the good that God has planned for his life and all that he has the privilege to touch. Keep your cards and emails coming. He and Robyn will continue to need and appreciate your encouragement.

Their contact information is:

Email –

Home address – 2044 Winchester Place, Fayetteville, AR 72701

Thank you and God bless you and your family,

Mark Saviers, Co-Trustee, Van Zandt Family Trust

"This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Words of reflection and thanks from Robyn...

I wanted to take this opportunity on behalf of our entire family to thank all of you for supporting us over the last 8 months. As you can imagine, our entire world has been turned upside down. In a matter of seconds my healthy husband was paralyzed from the neck down. Earth shaking, mind blowing, heart pumping, yet spiritually invigorating. There is no possible way I can explain my experience of the last eight months in a few short minutes, but it has been harder than and more blessed than you can possibly imagine. From the moment Tommy fell he began praying, the moment I got in the ambulance I began praying, when our neighbors saw the ambulance they began praying and the praying hasn’t stopped. It has not stopped and it is what sustains us to this day. Not only have your prayers sustained us, but your willingness to step forward and help us in very real and meaningful ways has been invaluable.

As most of you know, Tommy grew up in Arkansas and from the day I met him he did not stop bragging about Arkansas. Being from Mississippi, I thought what in the world is the big deal. But then I met his family and fell in love with them. Soon after I began meeting his Arkansas friends in Dallas. Great people. Then we began visiting Northwest Arkansas. I too fell in love with Arkansas’ beauty and the people. We made the big leap of faith and moved here in the summer of 2000. We have not looked back since. We still love our friends in Dallas, and thoroughly enjoy visiting, but Arkansas is home. This community has turned out tremendously for us during this difficult time. The spirit of love, friendship, concern and support is real and it sustains our hope for the future. We will never be able to properly thank you for the impact you have had on us. We just hope to pay it forward some day. I have always considered Tommy a gift and a special man. It occurred to me one day, he is not just meant for me and our family. A gift this good is meant to be shared. Thank you for sharing our lives with us. May God bless you as you have blessed us.

We love you and believe it or not this Longhorn is proud to say Go Hogs!!!!!

And a thank you for "Tommy's Nite Out"...

Tommy and I also want to thank everyone who worked so hard to make "Tommy's Nite Out" an overwhelming success. We are blown away by the generosity of people's time, talent and treasure. The Spirit was palpable at the gathering and we continue to be uplifted by the love of our friends and even of people who do not know us personally but who have reached out to us financially, and with their encouragement and prayers. This has been quite the journey so far with many ups and downs. Our Spirits hold steadfast in the belief that we will overcome this tragedy with hope and blessing. We ask that you continue to support us especially with your prayers as this has been called by many a marathon and not a sprint. Tommy and I continue to pray that anyone who has even read the blog or thought a kind thought towards us let alone reached out to us will be blessed. We would also like to specifically thank Neal and Gina Pendergraft for opening their home for the event, to Tony and Mary Beth Sherman for presenting the idea and then making it happen through their tireless and passionate work, to the steering committee for persevering from a loose band of friends to a dynamite event organizing team, to all of you who volunteered countless hours of your time to make the party so fun and successful and to all of those who came out on that cold night to celebrate friendship and life. We truly wish we could personally thank you, but we hope this will suffice for now and maybe some day we can thank you personally for making a real difference in our lives.

Love to all and God Bless You,
Tommy, Robyn, Ross and Jack Van Zandt

The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Good News! Tommy made a trip to his office yesterday. T.J. shared, “Tommy came to work today for the first time, it was awesome! He wheeled in on his own and we talked for almost 2 hours about office stuff and deals. He got to go back in his office too!”

Praise God, because in the midst of difficulty, He is so good to bring encouragement and hope!

"For I know the plans I have for you" declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Wow! Wow! Wow! Tommy's Nite Out was an amazing celebration of Tommy and our community. More than 800 people gathered to show their support for the Van Zandt family while enjoying fabulous music, great food, awesome auction items and best of all, time with the most beautiful friends imaginable. For anyone who has lost faith in the goodness and generosity of people, let me assure you that it still exists! Please continue to pray for strength and wellness over the coming months and praise God for the powerful gift of friendship.

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise-the fruit of lips that confess His name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Hebrews 13:15-16

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tommy is out of the hospital and enjoying being home! Robyn and Tommy are scheduled to pick up their new van this Friday and their first trip out will be to the fundraiser! Tommy and Robyn are extremely excited about seeing everyone Friday night and ask for your prayers that all the details of the fundraiser run smoothly and that Tommy continues to feel well.

"You have granted me life and loving kindness; and Your care has preserved my spirit." Job 10:12

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

After a strong dose of antibiotics, Tommy is feeling better. The infection appears to be under control. Progress is being made in the attempts to clear any blockage in his lungs. There is hope that Tommy will be able to return home soon! Your prayers are being felt and Robyn and Tommy thank you for them. Praise God that He is our healer! Robyn asks that you continue to pray for Tommy's continued recovery and Tommy asks that you pray for him to be able to go to the Dave Matthews Band concert in a couple of weeks! :)

On another note, Robyn and Tommy and their family, as well as all those involved with the fundraiser send out a gigantic thank you for the amazing support of this community. It continues to be overwhelming!!! The upcoming fundraiser, Tommy's Nite Out, on Friday October 9th, will be a celebration of Tommy and all that is good about this community! To those of you who may have donated to the Van Zandt trust prior to the fundraiser being planned, please feel free to contact Mark Saviers for tickets to the fundraiser in exchange for your prior donation. He can be reached at Also, continue to check the fundraiser website,, for more auction items! Looking forward to seeing EVERYONE there! It will be an awesome night!

"...for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long." Psalm 25:5

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Despite appearances that Tommy was feeling better, new medical issues have arisen. Over night, Tommy's fever has once again increased and there is considerable concern over problems in his lungs as well as other infections. A new round of antibiotics has been started and there is a possibility of scoping the lungs. Please pray for wisdom and discernment for the doctors and clear direction for Robyn and her brother-in-law Mark as they make important decisions about where Tommy needs to be and what procedures need to be done. Also, please pray for God's encouragement over Robyn as she seeks to remain strong. Praise God for continuing to provide so many people to come alongside the VanZandts at this time! -- You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry... Psalm 10:17

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The good news is that Tommy is in good spirits and feeling pretty well. However, due to a high fever and concern over infection, Tommy has been taken to the hospital today for monitoring. There is some concern of pneumonia as well as other infections but treatment is underway. Tommy should be back home soon.

Please pray for wisdom and discernment for the doctors as well as healing. Praise God the caregivers He has provided.

"You are my help and my deliverer, O my God, do not delay." Psalm 40:17

Monday, September 21, 2009

I am thrilled to report that Tommy is home and doing very well! As many of you know, Tommy's welcome home started with a gathering of friends who lined the streets with signs and waves. We all knew Tommy was in good spirits when Robyn texted the waiting crowd to let us know their arrival home would be delayed because Tommy insisted on driving by Razorback stadium!!! (Tommy was unaware of our greeting plans) There is indeed no place like home...especially when you are from Arkansas!

After a few days home, Robyn reports today that Tommy is still excited by the reality of being in his own home! God has continued to care for the Van Zandts in amazing ways as he has provided rest, peace, wonderful caregivers, loving friends to help when called, meals, and even perfect timing as the respiratory therapist showed up at the exact time she was urgently needed...twice.

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Isaiah 41:10

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Plans are still on track for Tommy's arrival today around 12:30. (Thursday 17th) Hope to see you there! God is Good!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Tommy is packed and ready to come home!!! He should be arriving at his neighborhood between 12:30 and 1:00 on Thursday the 17th. Please join us on the street leading to his house to welcome him home. We will stop our line some distance from their home to provide the privacy they desire. Tommy is extremely excited about his return home and will be thrilled to see his friends along the way!

Fundraiser News: If you would like to buy your "Tommy's Nite Out" tickets in person instead of on line, they are available at the Bank of Fayetteville on the square and on College as well as at Sage Partners. October 9th is just around the corner so buy now! Also please take a look on line at the growing number of auction items that will be available at the fundraiser.

"Then all the people left, each for his own home, and David returned home to bless his family." 1 Chronicles 16:43 Praise God that Tommy will soon be home as a blessing to his friends and family!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Good News...Tommy is feeling much better this week and plans are in order for his homecoming this Thursday the 17th. The blog will be updated with the exact time of arrival on Wednesday afternoon but will probably be around 1:00 pm. Plans are still in place to line the street leading up to Tommy's neighborhood.

It is also exciting to share the following news from the TV fundraiser committee...The energy around Tommy’s Nite Out is starting in a big way! Today, we received a $10,000 sponsorship!!! If you have not bought your tickets yet, please go to and purchase your tickets today. You will receive a very cool “Friends of Tommy V” wristband as your ticket that you can begin to wear immediately! You can also consider sponsoring or simply donating to help raise much needed funds for Tommy and his family.

Please talk TNO up! Help us reach the $201,000 goal!

This WILL be a very special night for a very special man!

Robyn also wanted to convey her heartfelt thanks for how each of you have blessed her and Tommy. They are humbled and amazed that people all over Arkansas have come together to support them. Over and over they have expressed their sense of awe at how God has placed so many people in their lives for this very moment!

"Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles." Philippians 4:14

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Robyn just send word that Tommy's homecoming has once again been delayed. The delay is due to Tommy's high blood pressure. The medical staff members at Craig are working to find the right medications to control Tommy's blood pressure and are hesitant to send him home until the issue is fully under control. Despite our sadness over the delay, how truly wonderful it is that the Craig team is providing such careful and thorough care for Tommy. Praise God for the staff at Craig! Please pray for strength and encouragement for Robyn, Ross and Jack as they continue to prepare for Tommy's homecoming and deal with the setbacks. Please also pray for Tommy's health as well as knowledge and discernment for the doctors.

On an exciting note, the plans for Tommy's Nite Out are in full swing. Don't forget to check out the website at

"If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast." Psalm 139:9

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I spoke with Robyn today and she has confirmed Tommy's arrival time for Thursday. If all goes as planned, Tommy will arrive in Fayetteville around noon and will be home between 12:30 and 1:00. Plans are still in place to have friends line the street near the Van Zandts' home to greet them. Although Tommy does not know about our plans, he suspects something and has asked Robyn to make sure no one is at or too near their home as this will be an emotional and personal time for their family. Robyn still feels like the welcome home greeting will be a blessing so we plan to stop our line some distance from their home. Please check the blog on Thursday to make sure the plans and arrival time have not changed.

Also, Robyn reports that Tommy is not feeling well. Please pray that he will recover and be able to make the trip home. Praise God for His perfect timing. Although the waiting is difficult for us, we know God has a perfect plan.

"You hem me in - behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me." Psalm 139:5

Friday, September 4, 2009

Good News...The Tommy V. fundraiser website is up and running! Please visit for ways to support the Van Zandts.

"This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."
Psalm 118:24

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Robyn has returned to Denver and reports that Tommy is in great spirits and excited about coming home. He has finished his round of antibiotics associated with the infection which delayed his homecoming. The staff at Craig is still working to adjust some of Tommy's medications but as of now he is still set to come home next week on September 10th. Please join us in a welcome home parade on the 10th. We will line the street up to Tommy's home. Tentatively, Robyn and Tommy are expected home in the early afternoon. When a more definite time is known, that information will be posted. Praise God for His hand in working out so many details associated with Tommy's care. Please pray for Tommy's continued good health along with safety and ease for the plane ride home.

One request...Robyn has asked for a volunteer to video the homecoming "parade." Does anyone have a special talent for this type of work and have a desire to video the homecoming? If so, please post to the comments so others can see if someone has volunteered. Thank you!

Keep watching for the unveiling of the fundraiser web site. It is almost ready!

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

Monday, August 31, 2009

All signs are currently positive for Tommy's return home on September 10th. Many, many people have asked how they can help Robyn and Tommy during the coming days as they transition. Kelly Stuckey is working to schedule meals. If you would like to provide a meal please e-mail Kelly at Also, Kathy Bell is organizing a list of people to be "on call" each day. Each person will take one day per month to be available to run errands, pick up kids, etc. if the need arises. To be a part of this effort e-mail Kathy at

Also, please mark your calendars for October 9th to celebrate and support Tommy and his family. Plans are currently being finalized for a fundraiser called "Tommy's Night Out." More information on the fundraiser and coordinating website will be available soon so check back!

On a personal note, I have been greatly blessed by watching so many people use their unique talents to support the Van Zandts. It is truly amazing how God can use every imaginable gift to care for His children!

From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:16

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Due to an infection that is currently being treated with antibiotics, Tommy's homecoming has been postponed again. He is currently scheduled to return home on September 10th. There are still plans to greet him on the road to his home upon his return. More details will be posted once the date is confirmed. Robyn has been successful in putting together a team of health care providers to care for Tommy once he is home. Thank you for your prayers in that regard. Praise God for the provision of the care givers and for working out the details of Tommy's transportation home. Please continue to pray for good health that will allow for Tommy's return home.

"I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet upon a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord." Psalm 40:1-3

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A new date has been set for Tommy's homecoming. He is now scheduled to return to Fayetteville on September 3rd. Although Tommy is very excited to return home, he and Robyn both appreciate the cautious care of the Craig staff members who are working to make sure Tommy is in the best possible condition before leaving. Tommy continues to work and improve with the pacer while at the same time maintaining a physical therapy schedule. On the home front, renovations have been made to Tommy and Robyn's home to accommodate Tommy's needs. A big thank you to Cody Crawford and so many generous people for sharing their time and talent to make all the changes! Robyn is busy interviewing home health staff to be a part of Tommy's medical team in Fayetteville and is encouraged by the health professionals she has met. God is truly working out the details!

Homecoming Plans: There are plans to welcome Tommy home by lining the street leading to his house as he arrives. All are invited! Feel free to bring a sign or just blow kisses! Tentatively, his arrival is scheduled for around 12:30 on September 3rd. As the time draws nearer, we will post more details.

No Visitors Please: Tommy is extremely anxious to see everyone and personally express his gratitude for all the love and support. However, the trip home and transition are expected to be difficult so the Craig staff has strongly advised that Tommy should have no visitors for the first few weeks while the medical team and Tommy adjust. Robyn will be working around the clock helping train the new staff during the transition. Any break will be needed for rest. Please understand the importance of the no visitor request at this time. It will be difficult for all of us to stay away but it is necessary. Tommy and Robyn will immediately let us know when they feel the time is appropriate for visitors. They are hoping and praying it will be soon. They look forward to being back among friends!

The blog will continue to be updated as we get news of Tommy's progress at home.

Praise God because He is good! Please continue to pray for success of the pacer, wisdom and discernment in regards to home health care and joy and peace for the VanZandt family!

"I have come that they may have life and have it to the full." John 10:10

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tommy is continuing to improve in regards to the pacer. He has been able to sustain breathing with the pacer for up to three hours with some assistance from the vent. However, due to the need for continued work with the pacer, Tommy's return home has been postponed until August 27th. Also, at this time, Robyn is in the process of finding home health care for Tommy when he returns home. Please pray for discretion in finding just the right people to care for Tommy. Also, please pray that God will provide the means for having home care available. It is extremely expensive! And, Robyn and Tommy are also working out the details for transporting Tommy home. Please pray for wisdom and provision. Most of all, praise God for not only sustaining Tommy and Robyn but for giving them such grace and light in the situation! -- "Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you." Isaiah 60:1

Thursday, July 23, 2009

More good news...Tommy is responding well to the pacer. He was able to successfully use it three times today. Once for 5 minutes, then 15 and finally 45 minutes. As the diaphragm is a muscle and has been out of use for the past months, it will take time to rebuild the muscle. Everyone is very optimistic that Tommy will eventually be able to breath with the pacer and without the vent for extended periods of time. Praise God for the success Tommy experienced today. Please pray for the strengthening of Tommy's diaphragm in the days ahead. -- "We live by faith, not by sight."
2 Corinthians 5:7

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Robyn sent the following update on Tommy's surgery. Tommy is in the recovery room. They were able to find a spot to stimulate the diaphragm. His diaphragm is very weak from atrophy, but over time the pacer will exercise the muscle and he will be able to wean from the ventilator for longer and longer periods of time. There is a patient here that had a similar situation and is now weaning 8-9 hours a day on his pacer. This patient had added anxiety issues that I am not expecting Tommy to have so who knows how long it will take.

Praise God for the success of the surgery! Please pray for Tommy's continued recovery and for extraordinary success with the pacer. -- "...and you will praise the name of the Lord your God, who has worked wonders for you..." Joel 2:26

Monday, July 20, 2009

Good news...Tommy's surgery, to place the pacemaker on his diaphragm, is scheduled for Wednesday morning at 10:00. Also, Tommy is beginning to make longer journeys away from the hospital. Last week, He, Robyn, Mark, Vicki and Ross went to dinner and an outdoor concert. Robyn is very hard at work learning the ends and outs of nursing with the staff at Craig. Praise God for the new advances that will allow Tommy to be free of the ventilator at least some of the time! Please pray for the success of the surgery as well as strength, rest and peace for Robyn as she takes on the overwhelming task of learning so many new skills necessary for Tommy's care. --"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind conceived what God has prepared for those who love him." 1 Corinthians 2:9

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Just a quick update on Tommy's surgery scheduled for today...Due to a small infection, the surgery has been postponed. They are currently planning to reschedule the surgery for July 20th or 22nd. Please pray for healing of the infection and patience for Tommy and his family. -- Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face continually. Psalm 105:4

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Your prayers have been answered as the insurance company has agreed to pay for the surgery which will place a pace maker on Tommy's diaphragm. At this time, surgery is scheduled for July 8th. As mentioned before, at its most successful, this surgery will allow Tommy to breath without the ventilator. This, of course, allows for much more freedom as the pacemaker only has a small external mechanism. Praise God for the ease in dealing with the insurance company and the speedy scheduling of the surgery. Please pray for the success of the surgery and that Tommy will feel comfortable with the pacemaker. (Some patients feel anxious trusting it.) Also, please pray for Tommy and his family's transition to Tommy's move home in August. And, please pray for discernment for Robyn as she seeks home health care for Tommy. There are not many health care organizations in town trained for Tommy's needs. Please pray for God's provision. Again, thank you for your prayers. They have certainly been answered through the care and staff at Craig hospital! -- For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayers..." 1 Peter 3:12

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Things are in full swing for Tommy and Robyn at Craig Hospital. Tommy continues daily rehabilitation including the use of special bike that engages Tommy's leg muscles. A considerable part of the day now consists of Robyn learning the ins and outs of daily care for Tommy as he is scheduled to come home in August. Great news was delivered this week as testing showed that the phrenic nerve, necessary for breathing, tested positive. This leaves the door open for independent breathing in the future. In the meantime, the doctors are planning a surgery which will equip Tommy with a mechanism that will work much like a pacemaker for his diaphragm. The hope is this will allow Tommy to breath without the ventilator much of the time. Insurance approval is still needed before the surgery can move forward. Tommy and Robyn's faith continues to uphold them and inspire others as they face this journey. Praise God for the protection of the phrenic nerve and the upcoming surgery which will allow Tommy more freedom and ease of breathing. Please pray that the insurance company will quickly approve the surgery. And, please pray for both physical and mental strength for Robyn as she faces the necessity of learning so much about Tommy's care. -- "Be still and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Trey's Trip Report from last weekend (May 29th - 30th) with Tommy

Let me start by saying that I was blessed beyond imagination to spend two days with such a strong man of faith, character, hope, courage, wit and joy. I have always known that Tommy is special but I am amazed at the impact that one man can have on so many people. I know I speak for most of us that know Tommy when I say he has become a source of hope and encouragement for everyone he has and will encounter. Clearly God's hand is at work in his life. During my visit to Craig Hospital, Tommy and I spoke at length about his gift of being able to quickly make real and meaningful "connections" with people... Tommy seems inspired to use whatever situation he is in (now and in the future) to connect with people and share a story of unwavering faith in God and love & kindness for everyone he encounters. To hear Tommy's enthusiasm for "reaching" people is truly inspirational.

The emotions I experienced while spending time with Tommy ran the gamut. Of course his wit and sense of humor are perhaps his most endearing qualities. When I first arrived at Craig Rehabilitation Center, there was a representative from a wheelchair manufacturer there doing specs on a chair for Tommy. While making sure all the measurements were accurate, the representative mentioned that Tommy's head seemed to be leaning a little to the left.... Of course, that prompted Tommy to respond immediately with one of his many one liners... He said "I am not sure if you heard or not, but I broke my neck which may have something to do with my head leaning!" --- We all laughed hysterically. Tommy's gift of using humor to make people comfortable was at work from the second I walked in!! --- There are many more extremely funny stories I took away and Tommy and I laughed most of the time I was there.. Sometimes Tommy laughed so hard that I was concerned that the ventilator would not be able to keep up with him!

As you can imagine, Tommy has become the de facto "Mayor of Craig Rehab!"... Now that he is mobile, he has begun making his rounds up and down the halls. It should not surprise anyone that Tommy enjoys giving more than receiving. In fact, he could not wait to take one of the many flower arrangements he received to his next door neighbor to make her day! I brought Tommy a lot of sweets/cookies/candy etc... I fully expect that he will get more joy out of giving it all away than eating it himself!! That's just the kind of guy he is!

On Saturday evening, Tommy decided he wanted to have a little Mexican Fiesta in Room 312 (Tommy's Hacienda!). While his attentive staff was helping him clean up/shower, I ran to a Mexican restaurant and returned with enough food to feed me, Tommy and most of the on duty staff (Dana, Maria, & Tina -- aka Tommy's Harem!). Let me tell you, Tommy's appetite is as strong as ever!!! He can put away the groceries!! In addition to three hearty meals a day, he was not shy about asking for cookies and malted milk balls between meals!!

While there was plenty of laughter and joy, we also had some pretty deep and serious discussions. One of the things that Tommy prays for (and wants others praying for) is discernment and clarity around how God wants to utilize Tommy's gifts and situation to minister to others. Tommy is content with whatever his situation is or will be but wants to understand how God wants to use him to reach others. Tommy seems passionate about figuring this out!!!

I know that Tommy and everyone aware of his injury continue to pray diligently for his ongoing recovery. But take joy in knowing that Tommy is aware of all the many miracles that are occurring in the midst of his recovery journey. I went to Denver this weekend hoping to help Tommy in some small way. Wouldn't you know that my contribution to Tommy was allowing him to give me hope and inspiration (which is pleasing to him!!). His joy is in helping others and I returned to Fayetteville with a greater understanding of the kind of man I want to be!

To God be the glory.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Over the last several days, great changes have taken place for Tommy. First, the wound on Tommy's back has all but disappeared. Only a red spot remains. The nurse who examined him this week was truly amazed at the completeness of the healing of this wound. No doubt God has heard and chosen to answer our prayers through healing in this situation! Also, Tommy reports that he is doing much damage to the walls at Craig via his new wheelchair driving skills :) Tommy is learning to maneuver the wheelchair by a system of commands made by blowing and "sipping" into a tube on the chair. This has obviously given Tommy the ability to travel around the hospital instead of being confined to a room. Praise God for the amazing progress! Please pray for healing of the phrenic nerve which will determine Tommy's ability to breath independent of the ventilator. Also, please pray for strength and encouragement for Robyn. And, continue to pray for wisdom, rest and encouragement for the staff at Craig. -- My heart is confident in you, O God; my heart is confident. No wonder I can sing your praises! Psalm 57:7

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Yesterday, I had the great privilege of hearing more encouraging news straight from Tommy's mouth! After weeks of not being able to take even one bite, Tommy is now able to eat real food with few restrictions! Tommy reported that this advancement has given him much more energy and made him feel considerably better. There also seems to be hopeful signs in regard to Tommy's breathing. Tommy feels encouraged by his progress with the breathing exercises and is scheduled for diaphragm testing soon. And, Tommy's doctor has said he will be able to start more intense therapy next week, beginning with being placed upright in a wheelchair. Up until now, Tommy has been strictly in bed so this is an amazing progression. It will be somewhat difficult as the body and its functions have to adjust to being upright. There has been significant improvement on the wound on Tommy's back allowing for the move to an upright position. In our conversation, Tommy and Robyn again wished to wholeheartedly thank everyone for their prayers, cards and support! Praise God because He is simply good, loving and The Great Physician! Please pray for continued healing of Tommy's wound and for healing and strength of Tommy's diaphragm. Also pray for God's hand to guide the upcoming therapy. Lastly, please keep the staff at Craig in your prayers. -- "But I am trusting you, O Lord, saying, you are my God! My future is in your hands." Psalm 31:14-15

Friday, May 1, 2009

Good news arrived earlier this week from Craig. Tommy's wound on his back is continuing to heal nicely! The doctors are hopeful that within 2 weeks Tommy will be able to start physical rehabilitation. Also, Tommy showed encouraging signs of independent breathing during a breathing test! One of Tommy's kind and dedicated nurses made many arrangements to facilitate a trip outside for him. Other than the move from Fayetteville to Denver, this was his first opportunity to be outside. Praise God for His healing power, constant encouragement and the provision of nurses and staff that care for Tommy. Please pray for continued healing of the wound on Tommy's back as well as the strengthening of Tommy's lungs and diaphragm. -- "I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

Friday, April 24, 2009

Below, Brian Shaw, shares the highlights of his recent visit with Tommy. Before you read further though, please pray for continued healing for the sore on Tommy's back as well as restoration of his diaphragm which will be needed for progress in independent breathing. Pray also for rest and peace for the staff at Craig. Please offer praise for the miraculous way God is sustaining Tommy's faith and courage! -- "I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." Isaiah 46:4

I had a two great days with Tommy. I arrived at Craig on Sunday around 10:15 am. Tommy’s first words were loud and clear “What took you so long!!!” He is very much the typical Tommy, joking and carrying on with anyone who enters the room. I could tell the staff at Craig loves it and gives it right back to him. He is very engaging with them and with anyone in the room. He can tell you very detailed information about each of his caregivers, and there are quite a few. I was very impressed with the staff, they are very professional, but keep the mood very light.

On Sunday, I stayed in the room with him until around noon, when Tommy was ready for a short nap. I returned around 1:30 pm and stayed until 6:00 pm. He seemed to enjoy talking about the local news and, of course, the Razorback football team. I brought along the Demo Gazette and read him the latest Spring Football report. In the afternoon, it was a beautiful Denver day and he wanted to go out on the sky bridge. It took about 20 minutes for the staff to get his bed and various accessories ready to move out of the room. He joked with them asking if we were going to the sky bridge or to the moon, with the amount of equipment and devices we had to assemble just to make the move out of the room. We spent about 45 minutes there which was nice until the warmth of the room was too much for both of us.

I was also there on Monday and It seems his daily weekday routine consist of waking up around 7:30 am, doctor visits around 9:00 am, occupational therapy around 10:00 am, nap from noon – 1:30. He was a little nauseated Monday morning, so I only stayed about 1 hour then came back a few hours later. He was feeling better around noon. His afternoons are mostly open for now with shift changes and reporting starting around 6:00 pm and he said he goes to sleep around 8:00 pm. He is still recovering from the bedsore before they will allow him to sit up or move around very much. I understood this may take a couple more weeks. However, all day long, a staff member was dropping by and paying close attention to his every need. He stays busy most of the day and really doesn’t seem to have time to watch TV or listen to books on tape. He enjoyed me reading cards that had arrived in the mail and just talking. We called the office and he was able to talk with everyone there.

Tommy has a strong positive attitude that he will recover and walk again. He is focused only on positive thoughts and asks the same of everyone. We talked about faith and courage. He most definitely has both. We talked about “Courage” being the ability to move forward even with a little fear in your heart. He loved that saying and asked me to write it down and hang it up on the wall. I couldn’t find any tape, so I will ask the next visitor to take this task on if you see the paper.

He said he was amazed at the number of people concerned about him. He said he didn’t realize how many lives he had touched over the years. He is also motivated by his strong faith in God, and is encouraged to hear how the blog has encouraged others to be more loyal, faithful followers of Christ.

Tommy is truly an inspiration. The day I was leaving Denver was the 10 yr anniversary of the Columbine shootings. On the way to the airport, I heard on the radio a statement from the principal of Columbine High School that summed up my visit with Tommy and his state of mind. “It is not the events that happen in our lives that define who we are, it is how we respond to those events”.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

At this very moment I am sitting with Robyn and Tommy at Craig hospital! I have been greatly blessed by my time with them. Tommy looks and sounds absolutely incredible! We have talked for hours about everything going on back in Arkansas. His attitude is amazing and the staff loves him. His nurse last night insisted on staying hours past her shift because she did not want to leave Tommy in the hands of someone else.

Tommy sends his love and, even though he has expressed it before, his great appreciation for your e-mails, blog comments and cards. They are truly bright spots in his day! He also promises a great big smile for anyone who smuggles in a cheeseburger! :)

To give you a little insight into Tommy's state of mind, I will share with you a report from his friend Paul James who visited over Easter..."Finally, you will find that Tommy's personality remains unchanged. As always, he is a great conversationalist and, as a result, time passes quickly. I enjoyed every minute of my time with him. The nurses love his attitude and he is constantly giving them a hard time and joking with them. We went to Easter service and he sang the hymns as well as he could. As we were rolling Tommy back to his room, I was whistling the first line to the opening hymn "Christ the Lord is Risen Today" and Tommy promptly joined in whistling the second verse. This impromptu act spoke volumes of his mental attitude in dealing with his injury."

Please continue to offer praise for God's provision of friends that are visiting and praying. And, especially praise God for the healing that is taking place on Tommy's back wound. Real progress has taken place! Once this healing is complete, he will be able to be placed in a sitting position and begin physical therapy. Please pray for complete healing of this wound and that God would reestablish use of the diaphragm that will allow for progress in independent breathing. Your prayers are invaluable!

Tommy wanted to share the following Bible verse with each of you today. "Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Hebrews 11:1

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Tommy's brother-in-law Mark just returned from a visit with Tommy at Craig and has brought back exciting and encouraging news. Due to Tommy's excellent progress with his speech, the staff at Craig is optimistic that Tommy will soon be able to utilize technology called Dragon voice recognition software. This software will enable Tommy to use his computer through a process of voice commands. Of course, it will take some time to master, but it is an encouraging step! Also this week, Tommy was briefly able to override the ventilator with his own breathing capacity. The nurse commented that this achievement was beyond good... "it is awesome." Mark also reported that Tommy's mental attitude continues to be amazing. There has now been ample time since the accident and surgeries for marked improvement to be seen in both Tommy's mental and physical condition. What may seem to us as a difficult waiting period has provided Tommy with much needed recuperation time. Healing of the skin lesion is improving slowly but surely and the doctors have been able to manage some pain Tommy was experiencing. Tommy expressed to Mark his overwhelming gratitude for every one's notes, e-mails, blog entries, trust donations, etc. as well as his positive experience with the hospital and staff. Above all, he shared with Mark that he has "the faith and the fight to climb back to the top." Please continue to praise God for the strength and encouragement He is providing. Also, please pray for the healing of Tommy's skin problems which will then allow for physical therapy to start as well as continued strengthening of Tommy's lungs. And, pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to watch over and sustain Tommy's family. -- "This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What a blessing I received yesterday...As I was talking with Robyn, she walked in Tommy's room and said to him, "would you like to speak to Jill?" Before I knew it, I heard the strong and perfect voice of Tommy Van Zandt. I have to say that I was surprised and amazed at the progress being made in Tommy's speech with the trach. Currently, the respiratory therapist prepares the trach to enable speech for a specified time and later returns it to non-speech mode. Although, he sounded absolutely fabulous, speaking is somewhat difficult and exhausting at this point. The staff is currently working with Tommy to increase ease and duration of speech. Also, praise is due for the marked improvement of Tommy's blood condition which has been problematic since day one and the healing of various conditions including skin breakdown inherent in this situation. The doctors are also making progress in pinpointing the source of some pain Tommy is experiencing. In short, God is at work and your prayers are of the utmost value to Tommy and Robyn. They are absolutely being sustained by your prayers and God's hand! Also, Ross and Jack are making the trip to Denver today which is sure to be a great joy for Robyn and Tommy! Praise God for sending such great encouragement through healing! Please pray for the boys as they travel and for God's blessing over their visit. Also, continue to pray for continued healing and that physical therapy will be able to start on schedule. -- "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles...On Him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many." 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, 10-11

Friday, March 20, 2009

Tommy and Robyn are continuing to wait patiently for the resolution of various medical issues before moving forward with rehabilitation. However, as Robyn reiterated, this is a marathon, not a sprint, so this is simply a time of preparation for the days ahead. Please continue to pray for healing, rest and perseverance. Praise God for His goodness and the gift of endurance.
-- "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12:1-3

Monday, March 16, 2009

God is continuing to grant patience and reassurance to Tommy and Robyn as they wait for optimum physical conditions to start physical rehabilitation. Praise God for His peace! Tommy and Robyn specifically request your prayers for the resolution of various medical issues in order for Tommy's rehabilitation to remain on schedule. -- "But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds, declares the Lord..." Jeremiah 30:17

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Tommy is starting intensive training to master talking with the trach. The staff will be working with him 3 times a day towards this end. He is also beginning a regime of range of motion exercises which keep the muscles and joints working correctly. Praise God for the progress in these areas and the amazing way in which He is sustaining both Robyn and Tommy. Please continue to pray for healing and rest for Tommy. Also, please pray for the staff at Craig. Pray for just the right people to care for Tommy and for the rest and well being of the staff as their jobs are difficult and exhausting. -- "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sweet news came from Robyn today! She was able to hear Tommy's voice briefly today for the first time since hospitalization. The staff at Craig is working with Tommy and the trach to increase talk time slowly being careful to protect Tommy's lungs. Also, Tommy passed the initial swallow test which will allow the staff to cautiously move towards allowing Tommy to eat! At this point, physical therapy is on hold as the staff waits for certain physical healing to occur. Tommy continues to have a great attitude. Please continue to pray for decrease in swelling of the spinal cord, healing of body and rest for both Tommy and Robyn. Praise God for the encouragement He provided for Tommy and Robyn today! -- "Those who hope in me will not be disappointed." Isaiah 49:23

On behalf of Robyn, she writes: Many, many heartfelt thanks to everyone! I am getting wonderful e-mails, cards, etc. that continue to bless both Tommy and me. We are in awe of how wonderful and supportive people, even some we have never met, have been to us. God truly is good and I continue to pray that anyone who has been touched in any way through our trial will personally experience God's presence in their lives.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Praise God for the beautiful weather and scenery in Colorado! Yesterday, Tommy was able to spend some time in the Craig Hospital sky bridge which is a glassed in area with an incredible view of the surrounding area. In His loveliness, God presented the perfect day for viewing! John James, an old friend from Arkansas, who was also a patient at Craig and currently a doctor in Denver, visited with Robyn and Tommy and was able to share incredible insight and encouragement. Again, thank God for placing so many helpful people right in Robyn and Tommy's path! Also, Robyn reports that the staff at Craig is young, energetic and very positive...a great environment for recovery! Please continue to pray for the subsiding of all swelling in the spinal cord, physical healing and the strength to continue with grace every day. -- "The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock." Matthew 7:25

To send cards or packages to Tommy and Robyn: Craig Hospital, Attn:Tommy Van Zandt, 3425 S. Clarkson St., Englewood, CO 80113

To e-mail Robyn:

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Tommy and Robyn arrived safely at Craig Rehabilitation Hospital Thursday afternoon. They are extremely pleased with the facility and staff. The first two days have been filled with testing to help the staff determine the optimum course for Tommy's rehab. Please pray for reduction of swelling in Tommy's spinal cord as this remains a major issue. Also, please pray for strength, encouragement and healing. Praise God for the provision of Craig Hospital ( And, praise God for the glorious plans He has for Tommy's life. -- "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" John 11:40

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Tommy and Robyn will be leaving for Craig Rehabilitation Hospital in Denver tomorrow morning. Robyn will be allowed to fly on the medical transport jet with Tommy which is an amazing blessing. Also, housing will be provided on the Craig campus for Robyn upon arrival. God has truly been at work providing for Tommy, Robyn, Ross and Jack in every conceivable way! Please pray for strength for Tommy, a smooth flight and that God will provide the perfect staff to care for Tommy at Craig. Praise God for His abundant provision and perfect peace! -- "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?...So do not worry...But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:26,31,33

Monday, March 2, 2009

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your prayers asking for wisdom and discernment in regards to the decisions which had to be made regarding rehabilitation for Tommy. After many days of planning to go to Baylor rehab in Dallas, circumstances last week prompted the doctors to revisit the idea of sending Tommy to Craig Rehabilitation Hospital in Denver. Craig is widely considered to be the best rehabilitation center available. Praise God that He worked out every detail! Today when a representative from Craig visited Tommy, she felt Tommy would benefit from their program and accepted him as a patient. At the beginning of the meeting, the rep informed the family that a room would not be available for a week. However, by the end of the visit, a spot had become available immediately! (Don't we love it when God works quickly!) As a result, Tommy will be leaving for Denver later this week. Due to the massive amount of preparation required to ready Tommy and Robyn for the trip, it has been requested that visits not be made to the hospital at this time. If you would like to contact Robyn directly, her e-mail address is Also, Ross and Jack will be staying in Fayetteville with Tommy's sister Vicki and brother-in-law Mark. If you would like to help provide meals for them, please e-mail Kelly Stuckey at Please pray for rest and strength for Tommy and his family, ease of transport to Denver, and praise God for removing anxiety and fear in the wake of the change of plans. God is so good! -- "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you." 1 Peter 5:6-7

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The tracheotomy procedure went well and although it is something new to which to adjust, Tommy is very glad to have the original mouth tube removed. Robyn reports that the trach procedure has allowed Tommy to communicate with much greater ease. And, on a sweet note, she says it is wonderful to see Tommy's smile! Tommy and Robyn now have serious decisions to make regarding rehab. Please pray for wisdom and discernment. And, continue to pray for healing and strength, both for the body and spirit. Praise God that He is providing for Tommy and his family so beautifully. --"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
2 Corinthians 12:9

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tommy's doctors have decided the best way to progress towards reestablishing Tommy's independent breathing is through a tracheotomy. They will perform the tracheotomy procedure tomorrow (Thursday). Because the trach tube is shorter and larger than the current breathing tube it will allow for easier initiation of breaths. Tommy continues to give his all in physical therapy. Please pray for a successful tracheotomy surgery tomorrow. Also, continue to pray for successful breathing, reduction of swelling, and that God will provide physical strength for Tommy. And, praise God for His provision, healing and the wonderful plans he is establishing for Tommy. -- "I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted." Job 42:1

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tommy continues to make progress in physical therapy. He is able to remain in a standing position for longer intervals with the use of the tilt table and he initiated several breaths on his own yesterday! If all continues to progress, it is hopeful that Tommy will be able to begin rehabilitation (probably in Dallas) in the near future. Praise God that he has provided caring and kind staff to care for Tommy at the hospital. Please pray for Tommy's physical strength to be bolstered, progress in breathing and subsiding of any swelling of the spinal cord. On behalf of Robyn, thank each of you for your prayers and thank you for sharing your gifts and talents. In so doing, you are truly being the hands and feet of Jesus ministering to and sustaining the Van Zandts. They are so grateful for your friendship! -- "I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you." Isaiah 46:4

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tommy is continuing with rigorous physical therapy working towards the milestones which will facilitate his move to Dallas for rehabilitation. Although we are all anxious for the next step of rehabilitation, it will take some time and preparation before Tommy is ready. As our Pastor Steve Pulliam shared with Robyn and Tommy, the road ahead is like a mountain and before Tommy can take off for the climb he must gather up all the needed supplies. Being prepared will assure success in the future. Pray for patience as the supplies are being prepared. You may remember that Tommy climbed the Titon Mountains recently so he is up for the challenge! Please fervently pray for Tommy to be able to resume independent breathing. Independent breathing is a huge step in his preparation for rehabilitation. And, continue to pray for the swelling to subside in his spinal cord. Most of all, praise God for the way he has provided for Robyn and Tommy and for Tommy's amazing spirit. -- "...if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here to there and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:20

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Awesome news...Robyn and Tommy celebrated today as Tommy had a successful physical therapy session. Tommy is now working with a tilt board and was able to withstand 15minutes of therapy. This is progress towards meeting the requirements necessary to enter rehabilitation in Dallas. Please continue to offer praise for God's amazing gift of strength. Also, pray for the successful removal of the breathing tube, subsiding of swelling of the spinal cord and the healing of Tommy's body. Robyn commented today about how wonderful it is to know that so many people are praying! Your prayers are powerful! -- "And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up." James 5:15

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tommy's recovery from surgery continues to go well. Tommy was able to initiate several breaths without the help of the breathing machine today. This is quite difficult to do after many days of assisted breathing so there is reason for optimism. Please continue your prayers regarding Tommy's independent breathing and the subsiding of any swelling in and around the spinal cord. Also, please pray that God will continue to sustain Robyn, Tommy, Ross and Jack on this new journey. --"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

God is good! Tommy is recovering nicely from his surgery. The completion of surgery is a positive step on the road to rehabilitation and will allow physical therapy to begin. The doctors will try soon to reestablish Tommy's independent breathing by removing the breathing tube. Tommy is quite anxious to have it removed so he can talk! Please pray for strength in Tommy's lungs and the successful removal of the breathing tube as well as subsiding of swelling around the spinal cord. And, please continue to pray for complete healing! Praise God that he has provided peace that surpasses all understanding just as He promises. -- "The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:5-7

Monday, February 16, 2009

Tommy's surgery was completed about 3:00 and was a success. He is currently in recovery. Please continue to pray for swelling to subside on the spinal cord and that Tommy will be able to breath on his own so that the breathing tube can be removed. Please offer praise and thanks to God for working out the details of the surgery. --- "The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song." Psalm 28:7

Sunday, February 15, 2009

At the current time, Tommy's surgery is scheduled for 7:30am Monday morning (tomorrow). Please pray for continued peace for the VanZandt family, guidance and wisdom for the surgeon, and that conditions will be optimal for surgery. --- "The Lord gives strength to His people; the Lord blesses His people with peace" Psalm 29:11

Friday, February 13, 2009

Conditions for Tommy's surgery are still not optimal so the doctors have not rescheduled at this time. Although we are all anxious for the next step, we can take comfort in knowing that this situation is not a surprise to God. As it says in Psalm 138:16, "All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." As we wait patiently, please continue to pray with hope and praise for the amazing work God will do. He has already provided comfort, peace, and protection from fear in the midst of these difficult circumstances. Your prayers are priceless treasure! -- "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding..." Proverbs 3:5

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tommy's surgery postponed again

We learned this morning that Tommy was running a fever last night. As such, the doctors have decided to delay the surgery once again. At this point, there is no indication of when it will be rescheduled. Please continue to pray for optimal conditions which will expedite the surgery to stabilize Tommy's neck. -- "Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him" Psalm 37:7

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Surgery scheduled tomorrow at 11:00am

The surgery to stabilize Tommy's neck has been scheduled for Thursday (Feb. 12th) at 11:00am. We are thankful that God is working out the details surrounding the surgery and we ask for your continued prayers. Please lift Tommy up in prayer tomorrow at 11:00 as he enters surgery. -- "For where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them." Matthew 18:20

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Surgery date to be determined...

The surgery to stabilize Tommy's neck is still on hold. The doctors are waiting on optimal blood conditions before moving forward. Please pray that God will be at work to bring about these optimal conditions.

"Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is your faithfulness." Lamentations 3:22-23

Monday, February 9, 2009

Due to the postponement of surgery, there has been little change in Tommy's condition today but be assured that Tommy is continuing to amaze and bless us with his incredibly positive spirit. Despite difficulty talking due to a breathing tube, (which he is very anxious to have removed) Tommy continues to communicate his desire for everyone to smile. Knowing Tommy, this will not surprise you!

One of Tommy's doctors requested high top tennis shoes for Tommy to wear in order to keep his feet in good position. In an attempt to return the joy Tommy is so readily giving out, the Shermans went out and bought bright red converse high tops which friends then signed with scripture and love notes. We feel sure this will bring a smile to his face and heart!

Prayer: 1)Praise God for Tommy's incredible attitude and strength 2)Praise God for the friends that are bringing joy and comfort 3)Praise God for His trustworthiness and goodness 4)Praise God for His hand at work in taking care of every detail on Tommy's road to healing

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

on behalf of Robyn...

There are no words to express the gratitude and love Robyn feels towards each one of you. Every prayer, card, email, blog comment, meal and kind deed has been a tremendous blessing. She desires with all her heart to thank each of you personally. All her love to you.

Email Tommy & Robyn at Hospital

Below is a link to Washington Regional Medical Center's "patient email" service. I understand that they print emails daily for patients if you prefer to send them an email as an alternative to posting a comment on the blog.

Link to Washington Regional email below:

Meals for the VanZandt Family

Debra Broyles has volunteered to coordinate meals for the VanZandt family. If you would like to sign up to prepare dinner for the family, please email Debra at

Surgery Postponed

Tommy's surgery that was scheduled this morning (2/9) has been postponed for at least 24 hours (could be longer). When the doctors did the blood work analysis this morning, the conditions were not optimal for surgery (his blood was thinner than optimal). As such, they have delayed the surgery until conditions are optimal. At this point, there is no definitive date/time for the surgery.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Original post from the day after the accident

As most of you know, on Saturday Feb 7th, Tommy VanZandt fell from a ladder while trimming trees in their backyard. Tommy sustained considerable damage to his neck and spinal cord. Tommy never lost consciousness and his breathing has been stable which is a great blessing. Praise God there was no damage to Tommy's brain! Yesterday, the doctors stabilized his neck and back with halo traction equipment. This morning an MRI confirmed severe bruising to the spinal cord. The result of this damage at the current time is paralysis below the shoulders.

Your overwhelming prayers are sustaining his family and friends. Your prayers are increasing the hope of recovery.

Tomorrow (Monday, Feb 9th) morning, Tommy will go in for surgery at 7:30am to permanently stabilize his neck. This will be a 6-7 hours surgery

Following this current treatment, Tommy will most likely be taken to Baylor Medical Center in Dallas for rehabilitation.

Above all, please pray for:

(1) Blood flow to return to the spinal cord and spinal cord healing
(2) No complications during and after surgery
(3) Wisdom for Dr. Knox (his surgeon)
(4) Peace and comfort for the family
(5) God's miraculous hand to be at work

For the next two weeks, meals are being provided by the VanZandt's supper club. As we near the end of this two week period, we will reanalyze the need for meals and let those who would like to help know what is needed. (email Debra Broyles if you are interested in preparing meals at