It wasn't until college that Earl Thomas figured out why he sometimes felt "weird" or why school was such a challenge. But after struggling with school growing up in Orange, Texas, Thomas was diagnosed with Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder while attending the University of Texas.
"I didn't find out until college," Thomas said. "I always wondered why everything was so hard, why I was always daydreaming. My teachers always told me, 'you can do it, you need to pay attention a little harder.' It was always something was wrong. I'm glad I'm getting help with it now."
Understanding how important the right diagnosis and treatment can be for a child, or in his case, how tough it can be not having those things at a young age, Thomas' Guardian Angel Foundation is looking to help kids with ADD and ADHD, both in Seattle and Orange. Thomas launched his foundation in 2013 with a mission to "provide resources and assistance to children and families in need," but this particular cause is the most personal one Thomas has taken on.
"I'm excited about it this year," Thomas said. "This is the first year I kind of put my hands on it, put my rhythm into it. It's targeting kids and teens that have ADD and ADHD. It's something that I've battled my whole life, and I'm finding out more and more about it as I keep getting help, so I want them to have that same opportunity."
Thomas didn't initially seek treatment while at Texas even after the diagnosis, but in Seattle, he said, "Coach Carroll, he introduced me to a doctor named Ted Mandelkorn and he's been helping me out a lot… Just understanding what I have. I'm not weird. Just a lot of self-esteem issues, frustrations."
Thomas's foundation is hosting a fundraising dinner on Nov. 30 at Daniel's Broiler in Bellevue to raise money for the cause.