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Thomas Scully, ‘warrior’ who fought brain cancer, dead at 12

Thomas Scully, 12, of Miller Place, died July

Thomas Scully, 12, of Miller Place, died July 7, 2016, at Stony Brook University Hospital. He was a warrior in fighting anaplastic ependymoma, a rare form of brain cancer diagnosed in 2012, his relatives said. Credit: Scully family

Thomas Scully was “a warrior” in fighting a rare form of brain cancer, his grandfather James Scully said.

During his bout with anaplastic ependymoma since 2012, the boy rarely thought of himself, his grandfather said. “Thomas was always concerned about how things affected other people,” said James Scully, 78, of Mount Sinai.

Thomas, of Miller Place, died July 7 at Stony Brook University Hospital. He was 12.

Born March 3, 2004, in Port Jefferson to Despina and James Scully, Thomas attended North Country Road Middle School, where he excelled at math and science.

“Thomas will always be remembered for the kind and caring spirit he brought to the Miller Place School District community,” said district Superintendent Marianne Cartisano. “Everyone who knew him thought of him as a wonderful person with great potential.”

He dreamed of being on TV and telling the world to be more kind and more aware of kids with childhood cancer, said his grandmother Helen Vidal, 65, of Miller Place. He wanted to champion “individualized care” for young patients like himself, she said.

Thomas went out of his way to make his family laugh. He and his siblings, James, 14, and Jillian, 10, enjoyed spending time together, their grandfather said.

Thomas loved nature, Vidal said. An artist, Vidal taught him to look closely at the world. She didn’t realize how deeply Thomas internalized her message until he was older.

“He did really look at things — even a worm or a caterpillar or a frog,” she said. “He listened, he saw, he observed, he learned. He taught us all.”

Thomas spent time climbing trees and watching sunsets and showed a “passion” for animals, his family said, including his cat Snowflake. He also enjoyed fishing and cooking, and often made omelets for his family, said his uncle, Justin Scully, 47, of Port Jefferson Station.

Thomas even had his own omelet station, where he whipped up his specialty — a variation on the Spanish omelet — for anyone willing to eat one, his grandfather said.

Thomas was like any other active 12-year-old, Justin Scully said.

“He loved baseball and being with his cousins and being with his family,” his uncle said.

Thomas played for a local baseball team and practiced jujitsu. When his illness made it hard to move around, he enjoyed rides in his golf cart, James Scully said.

Doctors diagnosed the illness in Thomas in 2012. But even extensive treatments and surgeries couldn’t extinguish his resilience.

“The doctors that were treating him gathered together with him and asked him, ‘How are you doing?’ ” James Scully said. “Thomas responded, almost shouting at them: ‘Look at me! I feel great!’ ”

A wake was held Sunday and Monday at Branch Funeral Home in Miller Place. His funeral was Tuesday at Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption in Port Jefferson, followed by interment at Cedar Hill Cemetery in Port Jefferson.


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