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North Bellmore Teen Honored on Ependymoma Awareness Day

Students from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School remember their classmate, Thomas Reynolds, who passed away in October 2011.

The one thing that Lisa Reynolds remembers the most about her son, Thomas, was the love he had for his family.

"Our whole family had a bond with him that could never be broken," she smiled.

Thomas Reynolds, who died of childhood ependymoma in October 2011, was honored by his former classmates at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton School on Ependymoma Awareness Day.

In February, the school renamed its gym "The Thomas Reynolds Gymnasium" in memory of the young man. Lisa Reynolds created the Thomas Reynolds Foundation with the assistance of the school.

Thomas Reynolds, who was diagnosed with childhood ependymoma at the age of two, was 13-years-old and in the eighth grade when he passed away.

Ependymomas or tumors arise from cells lining the passageways in the brain that produce and store cerebrospinal fluid. According to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital's website, ependymomas represent approximately six percent of brain tumors in children. Most patients are diagnosed before the age of five.

Nassau County Legislator Dave Denenberg spoke to students at the assembly. He said that it is crucial that children learn the significance of making a difference.

"The importance of this awareness day is to raise awareness of the illness and bring hope for a cure," he said. "On a personal note, Thomas inspired everyone who knew him by trying to make a positive difference in the world and that is keeping his memory alive."

Lisa Reynolds agreed.

"This is very bittersweet," she said. "He is the greatest kid in the world and through his memory we are going to do a good thing by raising awareness."

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