When Carrie Bergeron was born, parents Tim and Peggy were excited to welcome a new child into their family. While the excitement of their newborn was in the front of their minds and hearts, a small amount of fear was also there. You see, Carrie was born with Down syndrome.
In 1976, when Carrie was born, medical help and information was limited for children with Down syndrome. Tim was an industrial designer in upstate New York. He was in the midst of developing a company that designed products for children with special needs when Carrie was born. After seeing the equipment Carrie needed, but could not get, the final stages of his vision became a reality.
Soon, Tumble Forms® was born and booming! Tim's take on products for the special needs market was different. A softer material was used and the products were more durable and aesthetically pleasing to parents. Vibrant colors were used that parents and therapists alike enjoyed. Thanks to Carrie not only was this new type of product created, the Carrie® Seat was developed just for her!
As Tumble Forms continued, Tim realized that the outer shell could be more comfortable. In 1988, Tim stepped away from Tumble Forms. He wanted to branch out and find a different type of material that offered more comfort while being used in therapy or for long periods of time.
Through trial and error, Tim created a new Soft-Touch™ material and Special Tomato was born! This latex-free, peel and tear resistant material offered a built in Anti-microbial protection and much more comfort than the Tumble Forms.
So how did Special Tomato get its name? Well, that brings us back to Carrie.
The Special Tomato of My Family!
My dad and mom had four children. The first three children were healthy and regular people. Then I came along, a baby with a difference, Down syndrome. I had a hole in my heart, a rip in my heart valve, jaundice, a big tongue and a wobbly head. As I got older I also realized that I am a slow learner.
One day it was bothering me that I was having a hard time doing my school work. I told my dad about this problem and he shared a story about when he was out in his garden picking tomatoes the year I was born. Every year my dad grows a garden and loves to plant tomatoes. At harvest time there were Beefsteak tomatoes on a bush. When he saw a differently shaped tomato it got his attention. It had a large, smooth, bright red enlarged side that made my dad want to pick it up and study the bump because it was so unique and looked appetizing. At supper, that tomato was just as juicy as the others.
Even though I'm different like the tomato as a person with Down syndrome, my family and friends love me even more and want to help me when I need it. My dad tells me that even though I have more difficulty learning than my brother and sisters, my lovable and outgoing personality and strong character make me just as special as they are. I guess I am the special "tomato" on our family's bush!