Mitchell passed away on November 19, 2008 after a five-year battle with an undiagnosed illness. The accounting below starts half way into his heroic journey.
Mitchell is unable to walk, talk or see and his family needs our help. Here's their story.
Mitchell Thorp, a wonderful 16 year old boy, has grown up in Carlsbad, California with his mom Beth, his dad Brad, and his 14 year old brother Matthew. He attended Aviara Oaks Elementary and Aviara Middle School. Mitchell's life has been about family, friends, sports and his incredible passion for baseball. Mitchell's dad pitched AA ball with the Dodgers and has a true love of the game.
Mitchell and Matthew have followed in their father's footsteps and have grown up participating in baseball at every opportunity. Mitchell started in the LCYO (La Costa Youth Organization) league, at the age of 5, playing T-ball. He continued through the Bronco division playing on every all-star team and tournament team he could. All the while, Brad was head coach for both Mitchell and Matthew and sat on the board of LCYO for 7 years. After Bronco, Mitchell left the league to play competitive travel baseball. His brother and dad were introduced to CYB (Carlsbad Youth Baseball), where Matthew is currently playing Pony with Brad as his coach.
In February 2004, the middle of Mitchell's seventh grade year, he started experiencing severe headaches. After several attempts with different doctors nothing relieved his pain. Then, in September 2004, as Mitchell was starting his eighth grade year, it became increasingly difficult for him to concentrate. Mitchell had always been a top student and very disciplined with his studies; but it became apparent the pain was so severe that Mitchell would have to continue his studies at home. In October 2004, Mitchell was checked into Children's Hospital for a complete workup. After three days of MRI scans, CT scans, extensive blood workup, and other tests, Mitchell and his parents left the hospital with no answers. The tests all came back negative/normal with no diagnosis made or cause found.
The next focus was a possible TMJ or cranial problem from wearing braces for the past two and half years. But after several months of treatment locally nothing relieved the pain and, in fact, it continued to increase. The Thorps were desperate for help and flew Mitchell to Florida to see the most reputable cranial doctor in the country. While being treated in Florida, Mitchell started to experience myoclonic seizures; his body began to tremor, and the doctors encouraged Beth and Brad to take Mitchell home. Once again the Thorps were left with no answers, and Mitchell's health continued to decline. There was no relief for his pain.
Mitchell was again admitted to San Diego Children's Hospital in June 2005. And again he underwent MRI's, lumbar punctures, blood workups, and a very complete series of tests. The neurologists, psychiatrists, hospital physicians, as well as others who were brought into this case, had no answers for what was happening to Mitchell. His appetite was decreasing at an alarming rate. He had lost 35 pounds and was now unable to either feed himself or walk.
In July 2005, shortly after leaving Children's Hospital, Mitchell was admitted into the UCLA Pain Center. While there, Mitchell's pain was so intense that the myoclonic seizures became constant and the tremors continuous. Mitchell spent most of his time unconscious because the pain was so severe. UCLA did yet another series of tests. Watching their son suffer in these conditions, while waiting for the test results was a gut wrenching experience. Beth and Brad took turns staying at UCLA Hospital so Mitchell would never be alone. They spent many nights walking the halls or in the UCLA medical library looking for their own answers to Mitchell's pain. But as test results started coming back; one after another the answers were negative. There were again no findings. The doctors could no longer give them the hope they so desperately sought.
The Thorps were faced with a very difficult decision. Considering Mitchell's condition, where could they go? After 30 days at UCLA and what seemed to be very little time left, the Thorps returned home. They contacted a doctor and a nutritionist who agreed to work with Mitchell at home. Their first goals were to attempt to reduce his pain and to dramatically increase his nutrients. As a result of their treatments, Mitchell's pain has decreased; he is spending much of his time awake; and his tremors and seizures have virtually stopped. For the first time, in a very long, very stressful time, there is hope.
The doctor's diagnosis is heavy metal toxicity coupled with a viral infection, which effects the central nervous system. The goal now is to remove these metals from his body, so it can be restored to its original function. Mitchell is currently going through a number of therapies to achieve this goal. He has come a long way, but there is a long way to go. He still cannot walk although he can get himself out of bed and scoot on the ground. He still cannot open his eyes, although it appears that one eye will lift half way. He still cannot speak. It is Mitchell's hope, and the hope of all those around him that, as these metals are detoxed from his body, all of these functions will return.
Please join us in supporting the Thorp family as they have accumulated enormous medical expenses in trying to find a cure for their son. Mitchell's current and past medical expenses have reached heights far beyond the Thorp's insurance coverage. We are asking for donations to help cover these expenses and to provide continuing care.
May 13, 2006
THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for blessing the Thorp's.
As a first step to what we all hope will be a complete recovery and return to baseball action, Mitchell Thorp took the field for the first time since the fall of 2004, joining an excited throng of supporters in the May 6th walkathon at Poinsettia Field.
Mitchell was able to sit in a wheelchair, aided by his parents and nutritionist. He arrived just prior to the start of the walk, and was able to remain for over an hour.
A crowd of several hundred walkers and supporters attended the walkathon in slightly cool weather which was perfect for the event. Before the walk, attendees were entertained by San Diego Padre great Randy Jones and the CHS dance teams. DJ Lou Taverna added to the fun environment throughout with music, raffle prizes and other announcements.
As Mitchell arrived just prior to the walk, Lauren Weinberg and Lorayne Lauduski, former classmates of Mitchell at Aviara Oaks Elementary and Middle School gave an emotional tribute to Mitchell. After this, Mitchell's nutritionist, Kim Schuette gave an update on Mitchell's current medical condition and treatments.
City councilwoman Anne Kulchin, attending on behalf of the Mayor's office, addressed the crowd and congratulated them for their attendance and support of the Thorp Family, exemplifying the great and giving spirit of our community. At the end of Mrs. Kulchin's address, the walk was officially begun.
The walking route went throughout Poinsettia Park, with 5 round-trip loops making up the 4-mile course. At the conclusion of the walk, several grand prizes were awarded to the individuals and teams that generated the most contribution amounts. After this, event cochairman Tom Watson thanked the event committee members for their efforts in planning and carrying out the event.
Concluding the event, Beth and Brad Thorp addressed the crowd, thanking the community for the tremendous support and also relaying a special story about their son's courage and faith. It turns out that years ago, Mitchell had the opportunity to name his dog, and chose the name Joshua. It was in recognition of his favorite verse from the bible,
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
May 16, 2006
Mitchell continues to take small, but important, steps on his road to recovery. He continues to show improvement with his ability to hold his head more upright while scooting around on the floor.
Through daily use of the tilt table, Mitchell is showing improvement with the amount of weight he can withstand on his legs and body without becoming dizzy. He started at 28 degrees for 10 minutes and currently is at 40 degrees for 25 minutes.
The great team of therapists, nutritionists, prayer warriors, and doctors continue to work very closely with Mitchell to help him in his healing process.
Thank you for your love and continued support for our son Mitchell.
May 21, 2006
NBA's Mutombo joins fight in Carlsbad teenager's battle to overcome mysterious illness
By Gigi Alford, Community Sports Writer
May 21, 2006 CARLSBAD — Only a mother could understand what her son, unable to speak or communicate his thoughts, was thinking at the time. As NBA star Dikembe Mutombo leaned toward Mitchell Thorp, his mom knew her boy was doing his best to focus his dizzy and spinning vision on Mutombo's size 22 shoes. "I knew he was looking at (Mutombo's) feet," Beth Thorp said. "I had to say that to get a rise out of him."
During Mutombo's visit with Mitchell at the Thorps' home last weekend, the 7-foot-2 center for the Houston Rockets told Beth he was surprised to see a smile on the face of a mother who has confronted so much adversity.
"You know where that strength comes from," Beth Thorp said. Mutombo nodded. "I know your family has very strong beliefs," he said.
The Thorp family then presented Mutombo a Mitchell Thorp Foundation cap and visor with Mitchell's favorite Bible verse inscribed under the bill — "Joshua 1.9: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Nodding his head, Mutombo said in his resonant voice, "Powerful."
In April 2005, before Mitchell lost his ability to speak, his parents gave him a new puppy, which he named Joshua after the Bible verse.
For two years, Mitchell, 15, has suffered from a mysterious ailment. An active baseball player from age 5, Mitchell began getting headaches that worsened to the point where doctors kept him sedated to avoid the pain. Three times the Thorps admitted their son to the hospital for tests, but there were no answers. Doctors were baffled and Mitchell wasn't getting better.
Late last summer, the Thorps asked Dr. Jim Murphy, an osteopath, to treat Mitchell at home. Finally, the family received some answers and felt some hope. According to The Mitchell Thorp Foundation Web site, Murphy diagnosed "heavy metal toxicity coupled with a viral infection, which affects the central nervous system." Once nutritionist Kim Schuette set about changing Mitchell's diet and surroundings to organic foods and materials, the family saw quick improvement in Mitchell's condition.
After caretakers complete their efforts to rid Mitchell of the metals his body has been unable to process, his family hopes he will make a complete recovery. But no one can say how long that might take.
Although the pain has subsided and Mitchell was finally able to open his eyes a few weeks ago, he's not yet able to walk or talk. Schuette said he is aware of what is going on around him.
Mutombo learned about Mitchell's plight while visiting Pomerado Hospital last week. The native of the Democratic Republic of the has partnered with Palomar Pomerado Health to build a $30 million hospital in the Congo's capital city Kinshasa.
Named one of the most generous athletes in a Foxsports.com article earlier this year, Mutombo lived up to his reputation, donating $5,000 to the Mitchell Thorp Foundation. "It's a blessing people can help us," Beth said. "We're able to stay where we are and focus on the healing rather than the stress of the finances. Otherwise we'd be selling the house." Part of the mission of the foundation is to develop a Web site for families going through similar ordeals. "We were so mystified," said Beth Thorp, who quit her job to be a full-time caretaker for Mitchell. "We had to do so much research on our own. The goal through the Web site is to help other families cut to the chase."
Beth said Mutombo, who turned 40 on Wednesday, brought joy to her ailing son and his younger brother, Matthew. Mutombo signed a basketball and dunked another basketball into a net on the family's backyard court.
One friend who shared the moment with the Thorps told Mitchell's father, Brad, who played minor league baseball in the Dodgers organization, that Mitchell may decide to play basketball instead of baseball once he's recovered.
An Update on Mitchell
October 14, 2006
It has been awhile since we updated you all on Mitchell's progress. For this we apologize, our life is so consumed in getting him well that everything else comes second. Mitchell is making steady progress coming out of his illness. Even though it seems so slow to us while those that see him say how much better he looks from when they saw him at the walk-a-thon, so for that we are grateful.
He is gaining weight as he currently weighs 118 lbs. and is still growing, as he is almost six feet tall. Mitchell is still unable to speak or open his eyes full time due to the dizziness and some nystagmus and he is still not able to walk yet. But we believe that once his head clears and the dizziness stops his legs and his ability to stand will come back.
Mitchell is currently undergoing some IV therapies that seem to be helping. Dr. Murphy, Mitchell's osteopath is still working closely with him as he helps his body unravel the layers that have been attacked. Mitchell's team still consists of his nutritionist who helps us with Mitchell's formula, and wonderful friends who come into our home and juice for us and make the formula. An acupuncturist/energy healer who helps Mitchell's body unblock areas of blocked energy, a physical therapist who is helping Mitchell to regain his balance, posture and range of motion, a home school teacher that comes an hour a day to read to him, play books on tapes, video's etc. and we still take him in for some hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
What has amazed us through this journey is how little our medical community understands mysterious illnesses and how to treat them, as we have communicated with other families throughout the Southwest with teenagers dealing with similar issues as Mitchell's. We have had to seek alternatives by choice to bring healing to Mitchell's body.
It is through Gods grace that has kept us all going. And it will be God's timing when he is truly healed.
Thank you for all your continued thoughts and prayers for Mitchell and our family.
Brad & Beth Thorp
Update on Mitchell
December 5, 2006
Wow! It is hard to believe December is here again. Mitchell's progress is still slow and steady. We had a series of blood panels taken last Monday along with some other tests and we are awaiting those results. Hopefully these testes will reveal to us what might be going on with Mitchell's body and give us hope and direction. Mitchell had been receiving Glutothione injections to protect the myelin sheath of the nerves and this seems to help. We stopped now for few weeks to give him a break and look to start up again this week. Mitchell always hated needles much like his dad he would turn white as a ghost. He has been responding well to the hyperbaric oxygen treatments so we are still trying to get in at least 2 per week, as it seems to help his head.
We are still looking and researching for Mitchell in hopes that one day another key to this puzzle will fit. As of today our concerns still hold for Mitchell that he still suffers from some paralysis, he lost his ability to speak, and his vision is still disturbed from the dizziness, muscle weakness and atrophy, ataxia, and still some pressure in his head. Our support team in Mitchell's healing has been so great and helpful.
Thank you for keeping us in your prayers and thoughts mainly for Mitchell to not give up and feeling discouraged. We bless you all this Holiday season with the best gift of love and health.
Love, The Thorp Family
March 2, 2007
Mitchell's progress is still stable; he is improving slowly and is gaining more weight. Brad and I have been working toward getting Mitchell a better seating system for him since he is still unable to walk the physical therapist has strongly recommend a chair that will better support his spine and help him from shifting his hips that can cause spinal problems down the road. We are also increasing Mitchell's physical therapy to three days a week verses one day a week.
Our goal this year is to help Mitchell regain some balance in his trunk and help him to sit up without any assistance. Another goal is to get Mitchell out into his environment so we've been taking him out for walks along the ocean and along our lagoon. He seems to be enjoying these outings. The physical therapist is also recommending a standing frame for him so we are pursuing this investment as well. Mitchell is still unable to speak and no one can tell us why this happened or if he will speak again. We also took Mitchell to see an infectious disease doctor who we sought to get a second opinion on after another research doctor discovered through a live blood analysis mycroplasma fermenton, toxoplasma gondii and strongoloids. He also wanted to run a couple more tests we should be getting those results next week.
For now Brad and I are tired and we are weary and you would think my tears would dry up since I have wept so much. But as I reached for my bible this morning for strength and guidance my eyes were fixed on this verse:
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
- 2 Corinthians 4 vs. 16
- 2 Corinthians 4 vs. 16
September 1, 2007
Mitchell is the strongest, bravest boy we have ever met, his spirit to live and fight the unknown is amazing to us everyday. There are days however, we see in his body and the look of grief in his face and eyes that he wants to give up. But we won't let him Brad and I are his biggest cheerleaders!! Every second of our days are very consumed in caring for him. Mitchell's condition is still very serious he cannot walk, talk, and has difficulty trying to open his eyes. However, we know he is still in there as he understands us when we speak, he gets frustrated and hits his chair or the pillows so for that we are so grateful for the fight that he stills has in him. Through the help of our insurance we are going to look into home health care for him 1 or 2 days a week so we can take a breather.
We have made some progress but not like we where hoping for. We have purchased a standing frame for him for the house to get him up in a totally 90 degree standing position. He can only tolerate about 15-20 minutes before he gives out as it does put pressure on his head. He also cannot hold his head up so we are trying desperately to get the muscles in his back, neck and torso to strengthen so he can support himself better.
We just recently returned from Salt Lake City, Utah seeing a Doctor who specializes in brain mapping. It is basically a functional EEG to see how the brain is functioning and what parts are affected. The therapy they have recommended for Mitchell is the LENS therapy, which stands for Low Energy Neurofeedback System. How does the LENS work? They believe that the LENS appears to positively impact slow brainwave activity. They also believe that it works to break up the rigid, self-protective way the brain has of responding after physical or psychological stress or trauma. There is evidence that during any kind of trauma (physical, infectious, toxic, or emotional) the brain protects itself from seizures and overloads by releasing neurochemicals that protect it from these dangers. Unfortunately, this protective response also reduces the brain's overall functional capacity. Long after the trauma is over and the danger is past, the "protection" may still remain. The person therefore, becomes stuck in various kinds of disabilities due to this reduced neurological flexibility. The LENS appears to have an effect in helping to restore the brains natural flexibility. So we are still very hopeful for Mitchell. Dr. Ochs who developed the LENS heard of Mitchell's case and is going to see and treat him while he is in San Diego for a conference. He is willing to take Mitchell under his wing as a case study.
The hard thing about all this and for many who are trying to treat Mitchell is that he is still undiagnosed so there are no real guarantees of success. So Brad and I are again faced with praying about this therapy and hoping there will be some kind of improvement or break through. for Mitchell. Please pray for us as Mitchell starts his treatments on September 3, 4, and 5th.
God Bless and Thank You for all your prayers and support!!
The Thorp Family
January 31, 2008
Happy New Year! Since our last update Mitchell is still stable but is not showing much improvement in his ability to move, speak, or walk. We our using the LENS system that we spoke about in our last update and although we do see some change not enough to report on at this time. Another situation presented itself in December our nutrionist Kim Shutte was sharing Mitchell's story to a Doctor in Los Angeles. He gave her a DVD to share with us stating that we should take Mitchell to see this expert Doctor in Washington, DC who specializes in TMD disorders and is on the board of the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain. From hearing about Mitchell's symptoms this could still be a problem as to why he is not coming out of this. The symptoms after watching the DVD of other patient's movement disorders seemed to be similar and very severe like Mitchell's. We were able to take Mitchell the week of January 14th to see Dr. Stack, who was recovering from his own illness and came in just to see Mitchell. We are treating Mitchell for a TM joint problem as his most current MRI shows that both of his disc's are displaced in an open and closed position along with a lateral displacement of the disc in the left TM joint. The treatment process requires the use of a mouth piece that will realign the disc within the TM joint. He currently has a lower appliance in his mouth which at the time has been causing a lot of discomfort and pain as the TM joint area begins to shift. We have to go back the week of February 18th to get an upper appliance that we hope and pray will provide the additional relief and show us the signs of things turning back on. Please be in prayer for us as Mitchell begins to realign his body to where it needs to be and that the next trip will provide the results that all of us have been waiting for. Dr. Stack feels confident that he will be able to help Mitchell. We will have to make at least one trip per month back to the Washington, DC area to get the follow up treatment that will be needed. The Thorp Family
June 8, 2008
It has been a long last 4 months for Mitchell as he got sick with the flu the beginning of February and it was very difficult for him to get rid of the virus. Over the next couple of months he struggled to keep any food in his system. After 3 emergency room visits and still no answers on how come he can't keep his food down he was given a Gastroparesis diagnosis were the stomach shuts down in the processing of food. We now had to take his G-tube and make it a J-Tube with feeds directly into his small intestine on April 28th this procedure was completed.
On May 3rd Mitchell suffered his first seizure and was admitted to the hospital. He had lost over 30 lbs., now down to 84 lbs and not thriving for life at this point. As the medical staff began controlling his seizure activity he slowly began to come around and then started suffering from sleep apnea up to several minutes at a time he would not breath, which thru the medical staff into overdrive and into the ICU area for 2 weeks. Mitchell's central nervous system was starting to affect more and more areas of his body. As he began to put some weight back on he started turning the corner again and began his fight to get home. While we were in the hospital for 4 weeks the doctors were still trying to figure out what was going on with Mitchell. As they ran many of the same tests from the UCLA hospital stay all of the tests kept coming back normal or negative. All the more frustrating for Mitchell and the unknown would continue this journey.
On May 30th Mitchell was discharged from the hospital to come home. He has put back on around 10 lbs. so far and continues to fight. He is sleeping throughout the nights and anxious and frustrated throughout the day. We are continuing to pursue the TMJ problem as we believe that his jaws do have a displacement and they need to be corrected.
God Bless and Thank You for all Your Support and Prayers!
The Thorp Family
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."
In the early hours of November 19, 2008 Mitchell Thorp's strength and courage lead him in a new direction, on a new journey with our Lord . . . one without pain, burden, or uncertainty. He fought for almost 5 years to the very end and left this world on his and the Lord's terms. He is survived by his mother and father, Beth and Brad, and his brother, Matthew, along with his two grandmothers, Carole Thorp and Elizabeth Bobek, many aunts and uncles and cousins, and an incredibly supportive community, all who loved him dearly. Mitchell will be honored and celebrated at North Coast Calvary Church on Thursday, December 4th from 4 to 6pm at 1330 Poinsettia Lane, Carlsbad, CA 92011, 760-929-0029. A private family burial will take place on Friday. Contributions may be made to the Mitchell Thorp Fund at US Bank, 1074 North El Camino Real, Encinitas, CA 92024. Flowers are welcome. Please join us for a reception immediately following the service.