This Day: February 22

0 Posted by - February 22, 2013 - This Day

Thomas Bowlin sat in his wheelchair Wednesday morning at Cathedral Elementary in Winona. The 14-year-old had traveled from Eagan, Minn. to meet the first grade class that had sent him care packages while he was in the hospital with a complication of spina bifida, a birth defect of his spinal cord. Bowlin hadn’t walked in a year, since a surgeon nicked his spine during an operation. Now 11 stairs separated him from Jani Giaquinto’s classroom. “Uh, oh, this is going to be a challenge,” he said. In October, Bowlin was confined to a hospital bed for a month at Mayo Clinic. Gianquinto’s class learned about Bowin’s plight from his aunt, Laurie Bowlin, the school secretary. Bowlin pushed himself from his chair, grabbed the railing with his right hand and braced himself with crutches in his left. His cousin whisked his chair to the top of the stairs. Bowlin slid a foot onto the stair above. And again. Twenty-two times. At the top, Bowlin collapsed into his chair. “The children think they are helping Thomas,” Laurie Bowlin said. “But it’s the other way around.”