22q Central Board Members
Hi, my name is Sherry Gomez. I’m a parent of a son, Talem, who is now 30 yrs old and who was diagnosed with 22q11 at age 18. After many years of health issues and mystery diagnosis with no real answers, I did a lot of volunteer work in various places to gain knowledge. I wanted desperately to figure out what was wrong with him. I eventually became a nurse to be able to read reports and labs. When Talem was finally diagnosed correctly, I found there was little information on the subject. Then my old boss at St Joe’s asked if I would write the genetics dept a pamphlet. This ended up being the 576 page book entitled “Missing Genetic Pieces” that you will see on the website. It started out as a list of things I would have wanted to know when Talem was a child, and the list just kept getting longer. I wanted to be able to give other parents a better start than I had.
I was born to a wonderful mother, Marty Peoples (a 40 yr. Herbalist, who I hope you will all meet one day) and for the most part was raised in Salem Oregon. I married my life’s partner Gilbert in 1975. We moved to Arizona in 1982, when Talem’s pediatrician said he would not make it another winter if we stayed in the cold damp weather of Oregon. He suggested a dry heat, and he was right!
Our 2 children, a daughter and son, ages 5 and 3 at the time, were uprooted and moved to Wickenburg, Arizona where I opened up a beauty shop. But Gilbert had to travel so far each day for work (4 hrs a day) that we sold out and moved to Phoenix. After taking architecture classes, we both became licensed and worked as Interior Contractors for the next 17 years. After I became a nurse, I was privileged to work for a wonderful Hospice organization and I became a Case Manager. Then I was asked to come on board at a Juvenile corrections facility in the health department. There I stayed until I was diagnosed with Cancer and a heart condition in 2007.
This new adventure of the Non-profit website “22q Central” is my last effort to fulfill my dream of making a positive difference in the spirit of people’s lives. I am sure that ALL the members at 22q Central feel the same way. I want so much to feel and believe that we who are affected by 22q11 are gaining in recognition, forming a united front and a real sense of family community. WELCOME Cousin!
My name is Tishri Solmon, the proud daughter of wonderful parents, a caring mother, Sherry Gomez and great dad Gilbert Gomez. Being a sibling and growing up with a brother (Talem) with 22q11 deletion disorder was challenging and life-changing in many ways. We did not know about this disorder until he was much older, so all we really knew is that Talem was different. He was a sickly child with learning disabilities.
I consider myself a proactive and protecting type individual. I will not think twice about intervening when I see someone trying to take advantage of someone. I will stand up for what is right and ethical, many times suffering the consequences for doing so. I think this stems from watching my brother struggle, being bullied, and made fun of by other kids while growing up. Of course, big sis was there to the rescue. Now working in the prison system, this has transferred to the mentally ill inmates that many times get taken advantage of by other inmates or just victimized by the judicial system. Knowledge has definitely been power, when you know how and why, when dealing with this disorder or any closely related disorder. I am really excited to share and learn about how we all can make the best of the situation we are in and make a positive impact on each other’s lives. I hope to contribute some lessons I have learned.
On a personal note, I was born in Oregon and moved to Phoenix, Arizona when I was five years of age. I was the youngest snowbird I know, because I had the privilege of flying back to Oregon every summer to my great grandmother’s home until the age of 13 when she moved to our home in Arizona. Anyone that knows me well, knows that my passion is camping and riding my horses. I have two riding mounts. In the picture of me, would be my little man, Oakley (he is a Yorkie). Animals are truly an escape for me. They are unconditional in their love and always there when you need them the most. I also enjoy running and Muay Thai to keep physically and mentally fit. The biggest pleasure in life is my small family. It consists of my mother and father Sherry and Gilbert Gomez, my brother Talem, my grandmother Marty Peoples and a few close friends. They give my life meaning by their love and support. There is nothing like having the peace of mind that, no matter where you are in life, there are people there either to cheer you on or offer a shoulder to cry on. They all fulfill my life in different aspects, which makes me complete.
Hi, my name is Leah Fuselier and I am the parent of a child with VCFS. Our little family of 3–my partner, Steph, me and our son, Hunter–live in Southwest Louisiana. I am a CPA for a local firm and Steph is an aircraft mechanic. Our son, Hunter is 11 years old and was diagnosed with VCFS at the age of 4. From the day Hunter was born, it was a rollercoaster ride with doctors, hospitals, etc all with a different issue for me to absorb. We saw cardiologists, urologists, ENT’s, pediatricians; you name it until we ended up with a wonderful neurologist, Dr. LeBrun who referred us to the geneticist who diagnosed Hunter.
We struggled for years to find out information about VCFS, but found that we were educating the health care professionals in our area instead of being educated. About a year ago, I was blessed to find a wonderful person, Sherry Baker-Gomez, who changed our lives. Finally, I had someone who I could talk to who understood what we were going through and as luck would have it, she had even written a book on it. We have been very blessed to find helpful resources with Sherry’s help and finally feel that we are prepared to assist our son the way he needs.
This site and the information / resources that we are trying to provide is very near to my heart. I was so touched when Sherry asked me to be the Vice-President of this organization. I hope this will help other families living with VCFS to not have the struggles that we have endured. I also hope this site gives other VCFS families a sounding board to know they are not alone in this battle. We can all grow from each other’s experiences and many times, just be there to listen when someone needs.
Cathy was born in Hawaii but lived in the Washington DC area before making Phoenix, Arizona her home. She has work experience in real estate, bookeeping and accounting and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies and a Graduate Certifcate in Gerentology, both from Arizona State University. Cathy is on the Board of Directors for the Glendale Chapter of American Association of University Women and the Arizona Fiduciaries Association.
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Hello! My name is Tamara Smith and I live in Everett, Washington with my husband, son, dog and cat. The rest of my family lives in Oregon–my oldest daughter, her husband and their two daughters in Portland and my youngest daughter, her husband and their daughter in Salem.
In June of 2009 I graduated with degrees in graphic and web design from Everett Community College, and I feel very privileged that my first major web design project is for the benefit of those with 22q11 deletion syndrome, and their families. For the 30 years that Sherry and I have been friends, I’ve watched her and her husband struggle valiantly to cope with the health issues of their son. This has affected me in two ways: I have become acutely aware of the stress, emotional pain and feelings of isolation that result from taking care of a chronically ill child, and I have become deeply and consciously grateful for what is so easy to take for granted–the good health of my own children and grandchildren. I’m a true believer in giving back for the good things I’ve received; among them are my family, friends and teachers who have supported me in reaching my educational goals. It’s profoundly satisfying for me to use the skills I’ve acquired to support my friend, Sherry, in her efforts to bring worldwide attention to the issues surrounding 22q11.
My wish for the future is that never again will a parent raising a child with 22q11 have to go it alone. Along with Sherry, I hope that this site will be a warm and positive place where parents and caregivers can find acceptance, understanding, support, and encouragement.
Why we're here
Founder and Author of “Missing Genetic Pieces–Strategies For Living With VCFS”