“Fearless and fiesty Sue Thomas has inspired…
faith is what keeps her going.” -TV Guide
"Sue Thomas has inspired a TV show
and those who hear her speak." - Los Angeles Times
When Sue Thomas was a little girl in Youngstown, Ohio, she was tormented by bullies "for speaking funny". It got so bad that the only deaf student in the school wouldn't open her mouth in class. But in the schoolyard, she fought back--leaving more than one nose bloody.
The real-life model for Sue Thomas:FBEye has fought such battles all her life. Thomas, profoundly deaf since she was 18 months old, shattered expectations by learning to speakclearly through years of painstaking practice, starting at age 3. Despite being relegated to what she calls "the dummy class" in public school, she became a fine pianist, even though she could only feel the vibrations of the music, and went on to earn a degree in political science from Springfield College in Massachusetts.
But Thomas is currently facing a bigger battle. She has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, which has affected her mobility and her window to the world--her sight. Numbness in her right hand affects her piano playng and signing.
Faith is what keeps her going, she says. "I believe that my deafness and my MS have been used to teach me profound lessons in life: a way to understand other people's pain and limitations and identify with who they are and what they need."
FBEye explores Thomas's career as a special assistant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Her uncanny ability to read lips lifted her out of a dreary job analyzing fingerpirnts and raised her to deciphering both surveillance tapes and live conversations among suspects under observation in public places. Thomas, who was also the FBI's first deaf tour guide, admits to working on cases involving white-collar criminals, drug dealers and corrupt government officials, but bureau rules forbid any further disclosure. The show's cases are fictional, as are the life-threatening heroics displayed by her TV alter ego (played by deaf actress Deanne Bray) and the character's trusty canine aid, Levi (also the name of Thomas' first service dog).
Taken from TV Guide
Eye Spy by Ileane Rudolph
"Staying In the Race...
Even in the Valley of the Shadow of MS I Do Not Walk Alone"
Sue writes, "When I look back on that day when I first walked through the doors of the Neurology Center and saw all the people who had been affected by MS, I simply wanted to run away…and never return.”
The most difficult challenge was the damage to her precious eyes.Her lip-reading skills dramatically affected, Thomas begins slipping into a dark and silent world. As the isolation becomes unbearable Sue has a decision to make. Will she run from it and fight against it, as she fought her silence for the first 30 years, or embrace it and learn from it?
Each day holds new dimensions as Sue learns that the joy of triumph comes through knowing the agony of defeat.
A true story of how joy and strength can be
found in the most unpredictable places.
“I believe my greatest accomplishment in life is
simply STAYING IN THE RACE.”
(you can also follow Sue's blog about living with MS)
The Clip that publicly introduced Sue's battle with MS to the world