Friday, March 7, 2014

Pulling Hard for Norton Native and her Daughter

This column originally appeared in The Sun Chronicle on Friday, March 7, 2014.

GOUVEIA: Town pulling for Norton native

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Posted: Friday, March 7, 2014 2:45 am
I've never met Shea Thompson, but it feels as though I have. And I'm really hoping I get the pleasure of giving her a hug some day soon.
Shea is a beautiful young lady who lives in Maine, but her mother is a Norton native near and dear to my heart. Janice Lambrecht - or Janice Adams as she was known growing up in our hometown - is a friend my wife and I haven't seen in years.
But, today we feel so deeply for her as she fights to help save her daughter's life from an unexpected and insidious illness.
Having just suffered a scare with our youngest grandchild spending two nights at Children's Hospital, I'm especially sensitive these days to what Janice and others with seriously ill children must endure.
I want her to know all her friends in Norton and the surrounding area are pulling for her to be able to bring Shea home very soon.
Those of you with Norton roots or connections may recognize the Adams name. It is a well known and deeply respected one in that community, which brings this situation so close to so many of us.
If you have ever attended a football game in Norton, you have probably been to Adams Field. That facility is named after Janice's brother Bobby, one of the best athletes ever to attend Norton High.
Whether it was quarterbacking the football team or sinking that long one-handed jump shot from the corner, Bobby Adams was grace and skill personified on the field and on the court.
He was one of my early heroes. I remember going to watch him and his teammates play in the old gym located in what is now the Yelle School. He was a funny, smart, intelligent young man - which made his death from cancer in early adulthood all that much more tragic.
If you have been inside the current Norton High School, you may have noticed the Adams name prominently featured on the lobby wall. Janice's father was chairman of the building committee that constructed the school. My wife's father was the vice chairman, and the two were neighbors living along the shore of the Norton reservoir. John Adams was a respected businessman, a community leader and a true gentleman.
Janice's sister Donna was a special lady who overcame what many would consider obstacles in her life only to have them make her even more special. And her mother is still the reigning matriarch of the family.
Janice was the popular redheaded cheerleader with the great personality and easy laugh. She clearly passed that beauty and charm on to her children, with her beautiful daughter Shea one of the chief beneficiaries.
For the past several weeks, Janice has spent her days in a hospital room literally willing her daughter to fight for life. Her Facebook descriptions of the daily battles and physical torment Shea has endured are simultaneously inspiring and terrifying.
The raw emotion in her accounts reveals the great character both have within them. It also speaks to the power of love and devotion, the bond that forever holds us to our children.
And, in Janice's case, it reaffirms the power of positive thinking and unconditional love.
This week I saw my son and daughter-in-law go through the awful experience of watching their child suffer and not having the power to stop it. I saw them refuse to give in to their fears, and rejoiced with them when my beautiful 7 month-old grandson Sammy came home with a clean bill of health.
I know what went through my mind in the short time I had to obsess over the health of this child we love so much. I can only begin to imagine what Janice and the thousands upon thousands of other parents and grandparents caring for severely ill children of all ages must go though.
Janice is not the only person going through the pain of trying to help a sick child. Not the only person from Norton, not the only person I know in this awful situation. But, I'd appreciate it if you sent a good thought in Shea's direction for them both.
Maybe Sammy can meet Shea someday. I think Janice would like that.
Bill Gouveia is a local columnist and can be emailed at and followed on Twitter at @Billinsidelook.

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