Posted at: 10/05/2012 12:00 AM
| Updated at: 10/05/2012 12:14 PM
By: Dan Levy
ALBANY - Downtown Albany was filled with dreamers and dragons on Thursday night. The biggest dreamer of them all might have been 11-year-old Stephen Thomas of Germantown, who along with his best friend, got to meet some mythical creatures and characters up close and personal at the Times Union Center.
It's an adventure that the fifth grade student has been eagerly awaiting and talking about ever since he first found out about it weeks ago. It was a experience that proves an adventure in one's imagination can be just what the doctor ordered.
In the mythical world of gnarly, scale-covered, fire-breathing beasts, Stephen Thomas feels right at home, if not overjoyed.
"It's very cool," the exuberant child declared. "Just seeing the dragons and seeing how big they are, I don't know what to say, it's just so amazing!"
Stephen's amazing behind-the-scenes journey came about after the producers of "Dreamworks' How to Train Your Dragon Live Spectacular" heard about his predicament.
Stephen was born with a rare skin disorder, epiderlmylsis bullosa. Minor injuries or heat cause blisters. Most of his body, from the neck down, is bandaged. Seventy percent of his body is covered in wounds. He regularly bathes in vinegar or bleach to kill infections and his bandages need to be changed three times a week.
"With his condition, he's in constant pain," said John Meacher, Stephen's grandfather, a retired Navy Seal. "We have to take care of his needs. I'm going to do my crying in there when I see him with his mouth, when it drops to the floor and he's overwhelmed, and that's going to be worth the whole trip."
"He gets to get out of his room and he's in his room a lot," said Julia Meacher, Stephen's grandmother, who, along with her husband and two nurses, are Stephen's primary caregivers. "He's a very friendly child so this is really good for him."
Something else that's been good for Stephen is the friendship he has with Melanie Stier. His grandparents say the two of them are inseparable.
The Meachers recently purchased a specially equipped van to accommodate Stephen's special needs. They're still welcoming donations. A fund has been set up at First Niagara under the "Stephen F. Thomas Supplemental Needs Trust."