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Father says of deceased baby, he ‘wanted to be closer to his spirit’

Detroit (WBKB) – Millions of Americans have given their thanks, kisses, and goodbyes as they return home this holiday weekend — but not every family visits their loved ones. Some travel, lending a helping hand to complete strangers hundreds of miles away.

Tom Sherrill–Mix and his daughter, Shannon, flip through memories of their family just about every day. They land on a photo of Tom’s son, Shane, as a newborn boy just days old.

“Shane was born April 30th [1982], and about two weeks later we found out he had a liver problem,” said Tom. Doctors were puzzled. A healthy boy now sick two weeks after his birth. Several hospital transfers led Tom’s family to the Ronald McDonald house of Detroit.

“Life is wonderful no matter how you get it,” said Irma Hudson, resident manager of Detroit’s Ronald McDonald House.

The house takes in families with seriously ill or injured children at no cost to parents. So Tom left Alpena, allowing Shane to receive the care he desperately needed.

“After Shane passed away, me and my wife wanted to be closer to his spirit,” the father said, “and we decided to come down and become weekend managers.”

Tom’s wife, Michelle, has since passed, but Tom has made the past 36 years brighter for families going through a tough time every Thanksgiving and Easter. “I know as long as Tom is physically able to come, he’s going to come,” said Hudson. “If he just stopped, we would suffer. We would suffer tremendously.”

“You just got to count your blessings more than your trials,” said Tom, “but I don’t see myself ever stopping.”