Friends, family, community mourn, remember nine-year-old killed Oct. 31 while crossing road to get on school bus in the Pratts Community
Webster’s dictionary defines a hero as someone who shows courage in the face of danger. Dalen Keith Thomas was a “super” hero to the countless loved ones who gathered one last time to pay tribute and honor his memory at his funeral services on Sunday at the Baldwyn High School gymnasium.
Dalen was born May 25, 2009, to Jeremy and Miranda Thomas, of Baldwyn. His entrance into the world was where he met his first challenges being born with CMV (cytomegalovirus). After nine days in the North Mississippi Medical Center NICU fighting for his life, he was able to join his parents and sister Kylie at home.
Dalen would continue to be a fighter during the nine years he had with his family and friends here on earth. He fought through 10 surgeries on his kidneys early in life due to his CMV. He would later be diagnosed with partial deafness and need corrective lenses for vision complications, all from his illness. However, these setbacks did not stop Dalen. He became active in therapies at Longtown and Elite Therapy to grow stronger and to set goals to live his life as a normal young boy.
Recently, he had learned to ride a bike for the first time and to button his pants. While small tasks for most children, Dalen accepted these as feats he conquered. “Nailed it!” – as Dalen would say.
Growing up he enjoyed playing with Legos and superheroes, going on family vacations, riding the tractor, and smiling at anyone and everyone. He was able to take part in much more than most nine year olds with his health situation. He went on amusement park rides, went to the mountains, visited the beach, and had the privilege of going to Disney World as a Kidd’s Kid in 2014.
Dalen attended Baldwyn Elementary School from Kindergarten to fourth grade, where he had many classmates, friends, teachers, and staff that he was an inspiration to. His autism, ADHD, and sensory-processing disorder didn’t stop him from having an array of friends and being an honor and gifted art student at BES.
“You couldn’t tell Dalen ‘No, you can’t do that.’ He took it as a challenge. He wanted to do it all and ‘nail it,’” his mother said.
In the early morning moments of boarding a school bus on Wednesday, October 31, Dalen was struck by a vehicle and continued to fight for his life upon arriving at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital in Memphis. He entered into his Heavenly home soon after that same day, joining his loved ones who had gone on before him. From his entrance into this world and even unto his exit of this world, Dalen was a hero fighting for life and the abundance thereof. With his love for motorcycles and firetrucks, Dalen had one last ride in a procession of more than 100 motorcyclists leading his body, carried on a firetruck, and his family to his final resting place at Kirkville Cemetery.
A fund has been set up at Farmers and Merchants Bank for memorials to be made in Dalen’s honor to the National CMV Organization and LeBonheur Childrne’s Hospital.