Wednesday through Sunday, November 21st through December 2nd


The beginning of the holiday season is upon us and we made it through the Thanksgiving Day starter. We hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving!! Our's was bittersweet and emotional as all holidays seem to be at this point... We are blessed to have Tori still in our lives but miss her lovely personality and participation nonetheless. We had a somewhat quiet Thanksgiving this year with Grandpa and Grandma Schmanski being our only company. We made the large and standard Thanksgiving Day dinner and Tori even enjoyed some very small helpings of mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie dessert. She was also in her wheelchair along side of us all during the preparation which lasted all day. She seemed to enjoy it and closely monitored everything going on around her. Perhaps someday she will be able to communicate to us all her enjoyment and we will continue to hope and pray this day comes.

Tori's health is remains good and she is continuing to have her daily therapies and educational sessions with Jake as well. We took Tori to the Shriner's Hospital for another checkup and they ordered her some new AFO's or braces for her feet. The new braces are made with a different material that shouldn't cause the pressure sores that her current ones do. They also took another set of x-rays and found that Tori's Scoliosis remains about the same though it is at 66 degrees... It is really, really curved but at this point we wouldn't want to put her through another operation to insert rod and pins to try and straighten her back. She has been through enough already... The x-ray on her hips showed they are still in the correct position even with her tendency to turn her left foot and leg inward. She will need a brace of some sort to help on this front and she will be evaluated for it when we pick up her new foot braces.

Brendan is busy with school activities and Whitney is as well along with her strenuous dance schedule. Brendan has been spending alot more time with Tori lately and we frequently find him in her room watching movies with her. This is a welcome addition of course as Tori's current condition has always troubled and confused him... We know he loves and misses her so much and I still don't quite have the heart to answer truthfully when he asks me "When will Tori be better??". "Maybe someday" is always my reply even knowing the reality that she will never be 'better' in the sense Brendan wants her to be...

I'm sure many of you have seen the 60 Minutes story Awakenings: Return To Life that James mentioned in a previous posting. George's progress is absolutely amazing and It's only a matter of time before they figure out how and why the drug Zolpidem or Ambien has the effect it does on some Persistent Vegetative State patients. At this point Tori is considered in a Minimally Conscious State and we will more than likely try another Ambien test on her at some point in the near future.

Lastly tonight, I was finally able to personally thank Utah Senator Orrin Hatch and his wife this weekend at a dinner function for his valiant efforts in trying to push the Stem Cell Research Act through Congress. I introduced myself as Tori's father and he immediately knew who I was given Tori was a subject of his Senate Floor Speech a little while ago. He assured me that he remains very committed and that it will eventually pass as last time they were so close to the 2/3's vote which a president's veto could not override. Soon the US will eventually catch up with the rest world in stem cell research of ALL variations. Until then we will research and explore other options.

Thank you all for the continued love, prayers and support for Tori and our family,

The Schmanski Family - Tim, Maria, Tori, Whitney and Brendan