Family Collage

Family Collage
Lots of Love in this Bunch!
*The compositions herein are not to be copied, reproduced, printed, published, posted, displayed, incorporated, stored in or scanned into a retrieval system or database, transmitted, broadcast, bartered or sold, in whole or in part without the prior express written permissions of the sole author Tory Williams. Unauthorized duplication is strictly prohibited and is an infringement of National and International Copyright Laws.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Human Candidate: TJ's Account of Hope and Courage

A series of posts re: The Human Candidate...

It's so hard to know if this is the right way to do this, but holding back any longer will only make T.J. and I go stir crazy! I am going to spare you the rabbit chase and pretend as if I am speaking to one of my closest friends. In other words, you are getting raw, unfiltered honesty, which in my opinion is the best way to deliver an important announcement. Okay, everyone...this is the secret project I've been working on since November 2010!

Almost six months ago, my mom called shortly before 8 o'clock on a Saturday morning to tell me that a close family friend named Timothy (or T.J. as most refer to him) was involved in a terrible automobile accident. Mom could barely get the words out. T.J. had suffered a severe injury to his spinal cord and was being air-ambulanced to a regional medical center some 60 miles away.

I had known and loved T.J.'s family for a very long time, which made the news of his accident extremely difficult to process in my mind. His mother Anita was one of my best friends and had raised my four children along with three nephews at her daycare in Chatom. Indeed, this family was special - some of the sweetest and most generous folks in the world. I could only imagine how terrified Anita felt. She and T.J. were extremely close; she would be devastated if he took a turn for the worse.

After being airlifted to a regional medical facility in south Alabama, twenty-one-year-old T.J. underwent extensive surgery for injuries suffered to his spinal cord. Despite the meticulous care he was given, he never regained movement or sensation below his chest. But typical T.J., he never gave up hope that one day he would walk again. Upon his request, his parents made contact with the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, and within twenty-four hours he was transferred to the renowned treatment and rehabilitation facility.

Based on many factors surrounding T.J.’s condition, doctors determined he was the perfect candidate for a clinical trial using GRNOPC1, a drug containing embryonic stem cells and designed to regenerate damaged spinal cord tissue. Therefore, on October 8, 2010, T.J. agreed to participate in a clinical trial procedure (the first of its kind) in which doctors injected the injured area of his spinal cord with over two-million embryonic stem cells.

Please take a moment to watch this video from ABC:

Geron Corp. Begins First Embryonic Stem Cell Treatment on Patient for Spinal Cord Injuries - ABC News

After months of researching, interviewing, and planning the best way to announce this super-secret project, T.J. and I have determined it is best to begin this journey slowly, as we are hopeful some of you out there reading this will support our efforts to bringing The Human Candidate to life. Anyone interested in learning more about this project may contact me through email or leave a comment below. I assure you, you will receive a response!!!

In closing, I would like to encourage all of you to support T.J. by leaving a few words of encouragement in the comment section below. On April 8th, 2011, T.J. will draw 10 special winners from those who have commented - winners will receive an autographed poster and T'shirt w/ T.J.'s logo on the front pocket. Stay tuned to Head in the Clouds as more details of this drawing will be posted in the following days.

Most importantly, your prayers for T.J. for a full recovery is abundantly appreciated. Have a great Friday, everyone! Love, Tory


  1. Tory/T.J. congratulations on making the big announcement. While I do not know T. J. personally, I look forward to being inspired by his story of hope and determination. It is amazing what we can accomplish with a little perseverance and the love and support of others. I know that you will do an excellent job of relaying his story and I look forward to following his progress. My thoughts and prayers and with all of you. Sincerely, Tameka Harpole

  2. Tory, this is AMAZING. I wish T.J. all of the success GOD can bring him on this extraordinary journey. I will keep him, and you, in my prayers. I can't wait to see the exciting changes in T.J.'s life! Thanks so much for sharing his story... Love, Jessica

  3. T.J., your story is so inspirational. I'm praying that this trial will prove successful. You are a brave soul, and I'm thankful that you've allowed Tory to tell your story.

    Tory, I wish you good luck with this amazing project. Prayers and hugs to both of you.

  4. Tory, Your writing is amazing and I am looking forward to reading the rest of this amazing story.

    I do not know T.J., that I know of, but from the things I have read and what people have to say about him, he sounds like an amazing person. I wish him all the best with his procedures and may God be with him during these trying times.

    Again, I am anxious to read this rest of this and may God give you the strenght and wisdom you need during this time as well.

    God Bless You All,


  5. Tory, thank you so much for doing this for T.J. His spirit inspires me everyday. We are praying for positive results from this surgery!!


  6. I look forward to T.J. having a complete recovery. Tory, I also hope to read your story of this amazing project. Good luck in all your endeavors.

  7. My prayers are with you and T.J. throughout this process. How exciting this all is! Love, Dana

  8. We will keep T.J. in our prayers. Tory, you are an amazing person and I wish you all the luck in the world. Keep us posted.
    Robyn and family

  9. T.J. I continue to pray for strength for you in this new and exciting phase of your treatment! I pray God blesses you with a full recovery and that your testimony reaches thousands! I hope that people will see through you that our God is able to do anything! My mom sends her love as well!
    We love you,

    Diane McLain and Rhonda McLain Hudson

  10. Tory, With the faith and strength you and T.J. have, there is nothing but success on the horizon for all concerned. I can't wait to see his story on the shelves in all the bookstores. Love, Glenda

  11. JessRoss@WashCoPubLibraryMarch 25, 2011 at 2:22 PM

    TJ! :) I know that YOU KNOW that people are praying for you and your family, but really, there are THOUSANDS out there now, praying for a miracle to be realized through this project! God has a special plan for you and I know that this is only the beginning of the amazing ways that you will touch the lives of others! One blessing I know you have is TORY MINUS! What a champion of faith you have on your side! Not only is she an incredibly talented and committed writer, she is also a wonderful friend and a true humanitarian, always helping to improve the welfare and happiness of others! I cannot wait to see what is in store for your life and your story! Much Love and Happiness to both of you! XOXOXO

  12. From Tera
    I'm very proud of my little sister, this is THE book to write! TJ and his mom are an inspiration to all of us! Keep us posted....

  13. Christy MiddletonMarch 25, 2011 at 9:35 PM

    So glad T.J. has such a wonderful person to share his story with the world. Keep up the good work.

  14. You guys are the absolute best! T.J. and I are the lucky ones to be surrounded by such loving and compassionate people. I can't wait for BBC Productions to roll into our quaint little town tomorrow for the Festival, and fall in love with the wonderful people living in our area.

    And for those of you abroad, I truly hope our paths cross in the near future because I would love to give you all a BIG {{{HUG}}} for the wonderful support you've shown during this process. It means more than I could ever think to say, so THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!!!

    Love you all and hope to update more often now that we have gone public w/ The Human Candidate. XOXO ~ Tory

  15. Wow, I know I am jumping ahead a little, but the doctor in me has to know what type of response he has had to his treatment. How brave he is to participate in a trial that may lead to such wonderful improvements in not only his own life, but the lives of so many others. You will be the perfect person to tell his story, Tory. Best of luck to you both!

  16. I pray that God will bless T.J. abundantly, protect him, and give him the strength to live each day with purpose... so he may be a blessing and inspiration to all who meet him, hear about him, and read his story.

    T.J., Thank you for allowing Tory to share your amazing journey with us. I am so looking forward to hearing more!!! Tory, you are loved!

  17. Tory- So greatful you are using your God given talent to bless and help others. I am so enjoying your blog.
    Jackie Giles

  18. I believe that everything happens for a reason. Some things may be hard to understand at the time. But good things can somehow seem to find a way to come out of bad circumstances. Miracles happen every day, some of which I think God gives us the knowledge to accomplish. I hope for nothing but the best results for you, TJ.

  19. Wow!! This is amazing!! I'm so glad that T.J. has allowed you to tell his story.. You're doing such a great job!! My thoughts and prayers are with you both!!

  20. What an amazing story! As I read your post, I got chills. He is truly a miracle, and God has wonderful plans for him. I am very interested/excited to learn more about TJ and this big secret. Until I hear more, I will pray for you both. Best wishes!

  21. Congratulations on the book, I know this will be such a milestone in both of your lives. T.J., I work with your Uncle Terry and have prayed for you since I got the call on that Saturday morning of your accident. Your name has been on our SS prayer list and continues to be. Praying much success with the results of the surgery, and the telling of your story through this book. "Be strong and courageous!"
    Donna Fuller

  22. Tory & TJ
    Thank you for coming forth with your initial information. You are in a very unique situation. Since TJ has only been given a low dose, safety trial, of HESC's, there is considerable question about him showing any clinical response. Has there been any movement? TJ is nearly six months post injection and I understand that would be the time frame to get some movement. Please share your comments and observations on the results of the injection.
    Again, thank you for your thoughtful revelation.

  23. Coming from my heart, I do know that there has been great results and I expect God to guide and protect the two of you in the coming months as so much takes place in each of your lives; here is expecting great success.

  24. Kevin ( 30, 2011 at 11:39 PM

    Great story! I have been following the GRNOPC1 drug as well as other similar projects for a while now. This is the first I have heard of a trial on a person and pray that it has great results for T.J. and thousands of others in the future. You are a true hero T.J.!


    You are a very special person to get involved in this first ever clinical trial. I have high hopes and I feel very confident that you will recover from your injury.

    With God's blessing and your trust in the Almighty,your prayers will be answered.

    I called you SUNSHINE T.J. because you are like a ray of light from the sun that touches every living creature in this tough and challenging world where we live in.

    I pray that Jesus will be in your heart and everything is possible so long as you sustain the faith that you have now!!!

    In Christ Love,
    Bud Rante

  26. TJ, I am truly touched by your courage in entering into this first of a kind clinical trial. Patients for years to come will have you to thank for advancing these new, promising treatments. Best to you and your family.

  27. T.J.
    I have been following the Geron Corp. research for quite some time. So I know that this phase I trials purpose it to test safety of the procedure. Therefore providing a much lower dosage than may be required to see substantial benefit. For you, I hope that these cells worked well beyond there wildest expectations. It would be hard to wrap my head around them not providing sufficient dosage of something they know that works. Good luck, and god bless.

  28. TJ, my name is Gwen Goldman Brumley. Kirk Savage is my nephew. Your uncle Winston and I were classmates. Please know that you have been in my constant thoughts and prayers. I know that our God has a very special reason for all of these mysterious circumstances and it will all be for His glory. Please keep your faith in God and take refuge in knowing that you are and will remain in the prayers of many of whom you do not even know but yet your beautiful spirit has lightened the path. May your earthly body be healed and your spirits be lifted in the name of our Father and His Son.

  29. The messages are so kind; we are truly humbled by your support for this project! Also, we appreciate those who suggested and donated the T'shirts and posters for this announcement. We are sincerely grateful for our community and appreciate everything being done for TJ and his family.

    Also, for the time being, I'm sorry to announce there will be no forthcoming of privileged information regarding this trial. There are many who have worked decades to bring this one-of-a-kind treatment to humans, and we will not do ANYTHING to compromise the efforts of these people.

    Furthermore, I have not been in contact w/ anyone from the company responsible for this trial. I am merely a close friend of the family who has agreed to tell a compelling and life-changing account of what it is like to be the first human candidate of such a medical milestone!

    We are doing our best to be accurate and respectful of all interests involved. We understand there will only be one shot to do it the right way for you, and for future generations to come.

    Much love, Tory

  30. Don't let them bully you, Tory. People have a right to hear this story. And will thank you for telling it.

  31. Tory,

    T.J. is the first light at the dawn of a new age in medicine and ethics. Embryonic stem cell treatments will change medical science as we know it. Of course, we cannot predict the direction or pace at which advancements will occur, but we know enough to see the power of this science.

    I was diagnosed nine years ago with Parkinson’s disease and have followed the science and debate surrounding stem cells closely. I have published a book debunking the spurious ethical arguments against embryonic stem cell research. I have also witnessed very unethical behavior by religious leaders and large pharmaceutical companies to stop this science. The fight will continue, but ultimately the world will come to support this form of medical treatment.

    I wish T.J. and you the best of luck. Be strong. If there is anything I can help with, please let me know.

  32. Dear Tory and T.J.,
    My interest in this story is multi-faceted.First of all as a nurse I have an interest in this story and the science behind it for both professional and personal reasons.What a wonderous event this is!

    Personally I have followed this company for more than a dozen years.It has been painstaking at times and exhilarating at other times. Always hope remained through all of the trials and tribulations.I cannot tell you the joy I feel in seeing this come to fruition.

    I feel that this is a gift from God to be used with mercy and compassion to all who can use it.May God continue to bless you T.J. And may God guide you and bless your writing and your life throughout this process;Tory.

  33. I would like to say thank you both for your humanity to each other and your willingness to share it with everyone.
    May you both receive Blessings and Truth through all you will encounter and have to endure.

  34. Good luck to you TJ and Tory! You don't know who I am TJ but Tory and I went to college together. I'm also good friends with her brother. Anyhow, you keep your head high and stay positive. From what I've read, you have many people in your corner fighting and praying for you. They won't let you down so don't let them down by ever giving up. From Tory's blog, I see you are a very special young man and you have and will continue to touch many lives. For you Tory, if your book (which I haven't read) is anything like your words, you will be published very soon. The reader can feel the warmth and sincerity in your writing. Like I told TJ, you have many people in your corner fighting and praying for you to. Don't let them down by giving up.

    Both of you are truly blessed to have each other in their lives.

  35. Just saw the story today (Jun 3) on ABC news which we get in Ottawa, Canada. I sure hope it works for you, what an amazing thing that would be. A beloved teacher and rabbi in my community was paralyzed neck down last June in a car crash so any info/news about new treatment is of interest to me. Also, (don't laugh) my 3 yr old miniature weiner dog got paralyzed in her hind half last summer (broken discs, common in this breed). Who knows, maybe there is hope for her to recover too! In the meantime you are in my prayers.

  36. Tory, This is such a beatiful story,TJ is my nephew,and as you know he is such a special person,TJ has always had a strong faith and his family is such a strong, dedicated, loving family. TJ has always been a rock,I pray his strength continues, and I just want everyone to know TJ is truly a ray of SUNSHINE, his smile will brighten your darkest day, when I saw him in the hospital right after the wreck he SMILED at me and his LIGHT WAS SHINING EVEN BEFORE WE HAD HOPE. GOD BLESS YOU!!! LOve You,Aunt Cindy.

  37. Tory great thing you are doing..
    all the best to TJ And his recovery

    hope his spirit is well