Radiothon

The 2020 Hasbro Children's Hospital Radiothon

Meet Theron: A young man who triumphed over tragedy.

His road to recovery was long and winding—and Hasbro Children’s was there at every turn.

Radiothon 2020 TheronMay 29, 2015.

That’s a day Theron Maynard will never forget—even though he can’t remember it. Because that’s the day he suffered a traumatic brain injury in a car accident. The then eighth grader from Cranston, Rhode Island was thrown 12 feet from the vehicle and suffered a seizure at the scene.

Fortunately, Hasbro Children’s Hospital—the region’s only pediatric trauma center—was only minutes away and he was rushed there. At Hasbro Children’s, Theron was put into a medically induced coma to reduce his brain swelling and administered the timely, critical care that saved his life and stabilized his condition.

“I don’t have much of a recollection of the initial time I spent at Hasbro Children’s,” Theron says, reflecting back on that horrific period in his young life. “But my mother, who is an RN herself, filled me in on the gaps and told me how much she truly appreciated the care I received in the very acute stages of my injury. She loved the support that the nurses in the PICU at Hasbro Children’s gave our family when all we needed was hope for me.”

After two weeks at Hasbro Children’s, Theron was transported to a rehabilitation center, where he underwent another six weeks of intensive treatment, as he started the arduous process of “re-learning” many basic life skills.

But Theron’s long and winding road to recovery soon included reconnecting with Hasbro Children’s Hospital after his discharge from that center, and he continued speech, physical, and occupational therapy in various forms at Hasbro Children’s satellite campuses throughout his high school years.

“Hasbro Children’s is important to me and my family because it’s the place where my life restarted,” Theron explains. “Every doctor and caregiver that I came in contact with has made an impact on my life.”

Among them was orthopaedic surgeon Jonathan Schiller, MD.

As a result of his injuries, Theron suffered a complete loss of strength on the right side of his body. Dr. Schiller was charged with addressing all Theron’s lower extremity issues and restoring functionality in those areas.

“Theron had significant tightness in his right lower extremity,” Dr. Schiller recounts, “which left him unable to place his foot flat on the ground or have a normal gate when he walked.” To remedy the situation, Dr. Schiller performed a minimally invasive surgery on Theron that consisted of making several incisions in his Achilles tendon and lengthening the heel cord to accommodate freer movement and function.

The operation was the easy part, Dr. Schiller says. “The really hard work for patients who have this surgery is the post-op rehabilitation,” he points out. “But I never had to coerce Theron to do the right thing. He knew what he had to do and was always motivated.”

Dr. Schiller is also quick to point out that his time with Theron was far from all work and no play. “I saw Theron from February 2016 to July 2019, when I officially discharged him. Over that time, we developed a great relationship. We interacted as if he was a little brother,” he says.

For Dr. Schiller and Theron’s other caregivers at Hasbro Children’s, it’s this type of connection that proves most rewarding—and the feeling is mutual from the patient’s perspective. "The beautiful, lasting relationships I’ve developed with my care team have opened up doors to the things I have embarked on since,” Theron explains.

Those “things” he references are impressive, to say the least. In the five years since his accident, Theron, now 19, says he has transformed himself from what he described as a “punky kid” to a young man who sees a purpose and path in his life.

“No one expects or deserves to go through what I went through,” he says. “At first, I was angry and resentful about the accident and didn’t really listen to anything I was told. I felt humiliated to be in a wheelchair—even temporarily—and I just wanted to go back to being a kid and doing what I did.”

But over time, something magical happened. Buoyed by the support of his family and his caregivers at Hasbro Children’s, Theron developed a philosophic approach to his health care journey and became determined to triumph over his tragedy.

He found voice and inspiration in words and started writing poems, screenplays and short stories, which enabled him to deal with the roller coaster of emotions he was on. “The pad and the pen were my therapy, too,” he points out.

These days, Theron is a student at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts where he’s majoring in Film & New Media Studies while minoring in Creative Writing. He’s also completed a young adult novel called “Live and Let Die” that he expects to be published in December. “Though it’s a work of fiction, my book is a big reflection of my journey and it tackles topics such as the fragility of life, redemption, loss, heartbreak, and more,” he says. And if that weren’t enough, Theron is also working on book of poems that he hopes to have published next year.

Moreover, Theron is sharing his story with others so that they, too, can learn and benefit from his experience. He’s been a guest speaker at Brown University Medical School and Meeting Street School and been asked to speak to incoming high school students about his experiences on several occasions.

“It’s a blessing to be where I am in life right now after such a dark time,” Theron says. “I could have rolled over, but I didn’t. I came out on top.”

Theron adds that he’s proud people have found light in his tragedy and credits his care team from Hasbro Children’s for helping him tap into his potential and thrive. “They understood everything I was going through physically, mentally and emotionally, and they always had my back. They were a big part of pushing me toward that light at the end of the tunnel…and for that, I am eternally grateful to the people of Hasbro Children’s Hospital.”