Campus Life - A side trip for the Irish band makes a the day for a young polio victim. It's from the April 8, 1949 edition of The Scholastic.
N.D. Band to Play at Warm Springs
Tommy Sexton Will Get His Wish
By Joe Dukert.
The Notre Dame Band will make a 150-mile detour during its Eastertime swing through the South to present a personal salute to one of the most faithful and courageous of all the "Fighting Irish."
Tommy Sexton never actually scored a touchdown or won a ball game for Notre Dame. For almost five years, Tommy hasn't even been able to hold a football, for he is completely paralyzed as the result of polio-myelitis. But in spirit, at least, he has raced across the goal line hundreds of times with green-shirted ND backs.
When Tommy's mother wrote to Mr. H. Lee Hope, director of the band, asking if a stop-over at the Warm Springs Polio Foundation were possible, she admitted that she thought it was "a chance in a million." But it only took a moment of deliberation to decide that the University's self- appointed No.1 Fan would get his wish.
According to Mrs. Sexton, Tommy was stricken in '44, only one week after his sixteenth birthday. He was an iron lung patient for 18 months and still requires a weekly overnight rest in the big tank. Although his arm muscles aren't even strong enough to hold the magazine himself, he has been a regular reader of the SCHOLASTIC for years.
Mrs. Sexton says that Tommy is very definite about asserting his "Fighting Irish" blood. "We played Irish records all of St. Patrick's Day," she writes, "although some of these Southern girls had never heard of celebrating St. Pat's Day before.
"Tommy has been favored by Notre Dame before. Father Goodall visited him on two occasions [see SCHOLASTIC, March, 1946] ; and Mr. Leahy visited Tommy on his birthday in 1946. He also went to the Notre Dame-Toledo U. baseball game last summer and . met some of the players.
"Tommy is a very courageous arid brave young man," she goes on. "He is always smiling and never complains."
Doctors say that Tommy's chances of recovery are very slim. He may never walk again. But the Notre Dame Band will do its best to cheer him up, for a little while anyway. And 150 miles isn't far to go ...for a swell guy like Tommy!