Glatzmayer TAKES A STAND with Spirit of the…

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jun 6, 2015 in Rat News | Subscribe

He’s taken a stand before and he is taking a stand again.

On the evening of Thursday, June 4, Manotick’s Thomas Glatzmayer was surrounded by family and friends at Ottawa City Hall, as they waited with bated breaths for the presentation of the 2015 Annual Spirit of the Capital Youth Awards. Since 1997, Youth Ottawa has been the proud host of the Spirit of the Capital Youth Awards. The Spirit Awards Night is an annual event celebrating the extraordinary accomplishments of youth who are making our community, and the world, a better place.  

Twelve-year-old Glatzmayer, has been named a finalist in the TAKE A STAND category. This honour is awarded to an individual who has demonstrated leadership, courage, and creativity while advocating for social justice and positive change locally, nationally, or globally. This youth mobilizes peers to stand up for the rights of vulnerable peoples, and uses creative means, including the arts and technology, to engage youth in advocacy.

A constant advocate for his older sister Melanie, who was diagnosed at the age of three with CdLS (Cornelia-de-Lange Syndrome), Tommy has spent much of his youth spreading the word about the importance of acceptance, non-judgement, and inclusion. By now, many have heard of the infamous “2 Pet Rats” who have scurried and squeaked across Canada and the United States, delivering their message of “acceptance” to packed houses, and receiving a standing ovation from students and faculty at Queen’s University. Their message resonates through their two published picture books, book tours, interviews, dolls, and funny 2 pet rat videos. A third book is in the works.

Thomas Glatzmayer took a sour lemons situation and turned it into a positive recipe for lemonade that has helped create awareness, understanding and acceptance of our differences. In Grade 1, Tommy came home from school in tears because his friends were teasing his sister, Melanie. They didn’t understand what made Melanie different. Six-year-old Tommy decided then and there that he wanted to write a book to teach his friends about his sister’s rare syndrome, and in no time, the book “Tommy and Melanie have Two Pet Rats and One Syndrome” was created by Tommy and his mother, Nathalie Wendling. What was to come from that moment led to the distribution of 10,000 books, 600 dolls, and more than 80 presentations held at schools and hospitals across Canada and the United States.

If this wasn’t enough excitement for the Glatzmayer household, they will be loaded up in their RV and heading to the Maritimes for a slew of presentations in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland.

“We have been invited to the Janeway Children’s Hospital in Newfoundland for a book reading and a visit,” said Wendling. “Our tour that began in 2010 will now be complete. Tommy and Melanie will have distributed books and dolls and done presentations in all 10 provinces.”

To date, Tommy says that his favorite presentation was at Queen’s University to the Future Teacher Candidates in April of 2014. The students were finishing their four year program and enjoyed seeing real kids with a real story.

“The students cried, they laughed and cried again,” said Wendling.  “It was Tommy’s and Melanie first standing ovation.”

On April 21, Tommy and Melanie were invited as guest speakers for the 100th Anniversary of the Kiwanis held at the Manotick Legion. Tommy and Melanie and the 2 pet rats were invited to sit at the head table for dinner.

“It was a really special night. We even had a rat race and raffled off some dolls.

What could young Tommy’s dream possibly be, after such the flurry of the past five years? “My dream is to present in the Yukon and help all the Melanie’s there.”

Stay tuned.

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