THS classmates hold homecoming for Button

By DONNAMY STEELE / For the Reporter

ALABASTER — Thompson High School senior Michael Button returned to his home in Alabaster on Friday after spending three months at Children’s Hospital.

Button suffered a stroke on Thanksgiving Day, which came as a shock to him and his family. Although life halted for Button, the community was ready to welcome him back home with a celebration parade on Friday.

Family friend Alex Lightsey said her son, Jack, among other friends of Button’s, were excited to welcome him home on Friday.

“The Alabaster police escorted them from the interstate back to their home,” Lightsey said. “When they got there, lots of friends and family were there. There was a big yard sign, balloons, the whole deal. It was just a welcome home celebration for him.”

Following medical examinations, it became clear that Button’s stroke was triggered by an underlying issue that had gone undetected throughout his life. He had an arteriovenous malformation (AVM), which is an abnormal connection between arteries and veins in the brain. Lightsey explained that it is usually present at birth, although many people never realize that they have it.

“We found out there was something going on that was undetected. He had something in his brain called an AVM, and it’s basically a tangled mass of veins and arteries in your brain and it ruptured,” Lightsey said. “They said it’s usually present from birth, so people go their whole life, it never ruptures and they never even know they have it. They did not know he had that and he had no symptoms before that, but it ruptured and that’s what it boiled down to.”

Honie Jo Hendrix, Button’s mother, said they are on relaxation mode for the next week before continuing with physical therapy on an outpatient basis on Tuesday. He is doing very well and his spirits have been lifted a great deal since they got home, Hendrix said.

“He was OK of course in the hospital, but he is smiling a lot now and cracking jokes here and there with his brother,” Hendrix said. “We have definitely seen an improvement in his mood and he seems very happy to be back home.”

Hendrix said her son might not have realized just how many people were there to welcome him home, but he really enjoyed having everyone there. He was able to spend time with his friends after months of being away, something Hendrix was thankful for.

“The kids that kind of put that all together and were spreading it around school have been friends with Michael for quite a while,” Hendrix said. “They thought it was important, and I did, too, for Michael to come home and have a good celebration to say hey, he’s home. Three months in and he made it. He has gotten through. Those kids are amazing. They are just amazing, amazing kids.”

Michael will be able to graduate as scheduled by doing a homebound schooling program through THS. He will complete his last three courses and graduate with his classmates in May, Hendrix said.

“He’s missed three months of school so it’s really nice that the school is working hard to help us to continue to get that diploma he has worked really, really hard over the past four years to get.”