Young boy writes book about sister’s rare syndrome

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jun 21, 2015 in Rat News | Subscribe

A young boy trying to spread knowledge about a rare disorder stopped in St. John’s Friday, to present a book he wrote about his sister.

Tommy Glatzmayer’s sister Melanie has Cornelia de Lange Syndrome. He was inspired to write a book about her, after witnessing bullying at school.

“In Grade one I went out to the hallway and I saw people laughing at someone’s work and it was my sister’s work,” said Glatzmayer, who lives in Ontario.

“I started crying because my sister has a disability and she can barely write her name on her work. They started making fun of it. It wasn’t right.”

Melanie Glatzmayer

Melanie Glatzmayer is one of about a hundred people in Canada with Cornelia de Lange Syndrome. (CBC)

Glatzmayer wrote the book Tommy and Melanie Have Two Pet Rats and One Syndrome when he was six years of age. His mother Nathalie Welding helped to write it, and self-published the book that same year.

Since then, Tommy and Melanie have given more than 70 presentations across North America, joined by their two pet rats.

Tommy Glatzmayer hopes the presentations will teach others about the syndrome — while also promoting acceptance of those with disabilities.

Glatzmayer’s mother said the last few years have been an incredible experience.

“I don’t think we ever realized how much our kids would teach us,” said Welding.

Tommy Glatzmayer and rat

Tommy Glatzmayer shows one of his pet rats to students at St. Matthew’s Elementary in St. John’s. (CBC)

“Tommy has really taught us how to accept Melanie.”

The family stopped off in St. John’s Friday, to give presentations to students at St. Matthew’s Elementary and at the Janeway Children’s Hospital.

Since 2009, Glatzmayer and his family have distributed more than 10,000 books and have started drum circle programs to help other families.

The disorder was first described by Dutch pediatrician Cornelia de Lange in 1933.

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