Tomm was born with so much extra skin that he looked like a 5-year-old even though he was just a baby. His dad, Geoff Tennent, was really surprised and said he’d never seen a baby look like that. Over the years, Tomm and his family faced many challenges because of this. Looking at Tomm now, it’s emotional to see how far he’s come.
When Tomm Tennent was born in South East Australia in 1993, his parents quickly noticed that their baby was unique. Even before his birth, some medical scans hinted that not everything was normal. However, nothing could prepare them for the mystery that surrounded their baby boy after his arrival.
The news initially worried Tomm’s parents, unsure if they could handle the situation. But after some discussions, they decided to face whatever came their way. ”We sort of discussed this between us, and we decided what’s meant to be is meant to be and we went through with it,” said Tomm’s dad, Geoff Tennent.
Even after many medical checks, the true extent of Tomm’s condition was beyond anyone’s expectation. The first sight of him left his parents in complete surprise.
When Tomm was placed on Debbie Tennent’s chest right after birth, mixed emotions overwhelmed her. “My heart came up to my throat, but at the same time it was lovely to pick him up and cuddle him,” Tomm’s mom said.
Tomm’s extra skin left the doctors puzzled. They didn’t know why it happened or how to treat it. At first, they hoped Tomm might just grow into his skin as he got older.
Because he was so different, scientists spent lots of time and money trying to understand his condition. He stayed in a medical center for two and a half months for tests. Since no other baby had ever been born like this before, the experts had no other cases to look at for clues.
This was a tough time for Tomm’s parents, Geoff and Debbie. It’s hard for any family to be in a hospital for so long, especially with a new baby. But whenever they looked at Tomm, who always seemed happy and didn’t know he was different, they found the strength to keep going.
For a long time, doctors were trying hard to understand Tomm’s unique condition. But then they noticed something unusual: Tomm’s skin resembled that of the Shar Pei, a wrinkly dog breed from China. This clue led to a breakthrough.
The researchers found out that Tomm had a super high amount of Hyaluronic acid in his skin, just like Shar Pei puppies do. This acid was making his skin extra wrinkly. The good news? Shar Pei dogs lose some of those wrinkles as they get older because their acid levels decrease. So, the doctors were hopeful that, with time, Tomm’s skin might become more typical as well.
Fortunately, the predictions about Tomm’s skin turned out to be accurate. Dr. Andrew Ramsden believed that Tomm’s condition would improve as he grew older, and he was spot on.
As Tomm grew up, he faced some ups and downs. In his hometown, many people knew and loved him, but not everyone was kind. Some kids at school teased him, and a few didn’t want to play with him because of his appearance. But Tomm stayed strong. It wasn’t long before he won many of them over, making friends and fitting right in. Even though he still looked a bit different, it was nowhere near as noticeable as when he was a baby.
In 2003, when asked about his friends’ opinions on his appearance, Tomm said, “Not really… because they are my friends and they don’t really care how I look.” When he looked in the mirror, he didn’t just see his appearance; he saw “a kind loving person.” People’s reactions to him varied. Some thought he looked cool, others thought he looked really cool, while some remained silent. Through it all, Tomm’s parents stood by him with immense pride, celebrating the remarkable person he had become.
From the very beginning, his parents were determined not to hide Tomm away. They’ve always believed that true beauty isn’t just about appearance, but what’s inside a person.
Now, 30 years since his birth that surprised so many doctors, many remember Tomm from the 60 Minutes documentaries. A lot of people have been curious to know about the life of the cheerful boy with the unforgettable smile and unique skin. However, not many updates have been provided through traditional news outlets.
Though the limelight hasn’t followed Tomm closely in recent years, a peek into his social media offers a glimpse into his current life. On Facebook, he’s seen happily married to Hannah, and they’ve made a home in Frankston, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia. A quote he shared, “Life’s simple. You make choices, and you don’t look back,” encapsulates his positive approach to life.
It’s heartwarming to see that same radiant smile from two decades ago. Tomm’s story is truly an inspiration. The unconditional love and support from his family have played a huge part in his journey, treating him with no difference. It’s delightful to know he’s leading a contented life with his beloved wife.
His confident response, when asked if he’d change anything about himself — “Probably nothing” — serves as a beautiful reminder for all of us. Shouldn’t we all embrace ourselves just as we are?