15-year-old Thomas Vallgren from Sävast has become a real Instagram phenomenon. His dance videos spread joy among thousands of followers.
“King, you are a role model!”, “Living legend!”, “Nice moves king, as always!”, “You spread so much good energy, never stop what you do!”. About fifty comments like these and 5000 likes per post, it’s everyday life for Thomas Vallgren and his Instagram account @thomasking004. This 15-year-old has scraped together 21,000 followers through his life-affirming dance and gym videos.
It was Thomas ‘brother Fredrik, 19 years old, who created the account last summer, as a way for the family and relatives to keep up with Thomas’ life. They were going to take pictures of him but then he started dancing and it got to be video instead.
– We posted a video in connection with the World Cup where he dances to De Vet Dus World Cup song “Vi sjunger”. We tagged #vm and the band and stuff, they liked the video and that was where it took off. It was a huge pop song and has 60,000 views, says Fredrik.
Thomas finds inspiration for the dances in the favorite game Fortnite where there is a mode where you can get your character to dance. He shows up, stands close to the big screen in the boy’s room and imitates the movements on the screen until he gets really sweaty.
– I do basketball, like this and like that. I dance, jump, bathe, sunbathe, chill, and eat ice cream. It’s me, says Thomas.
Want to open doors
Fredrik films, photographs, edits and writes texts for the posts with the help of the rest of the family. He responds to messages and comments and sends small greetings from Thomas and makes the followers feel seen.
– I want to make this big so that it benefits him as much as possible, the bigger he has become, the more doors have been opened for him. People with Down syndrome have a shorter lifespan, so the more he has time to do and the more dreams he gets fulfilled, the happier both he and we in the family will be, says Fredrik.
Thomas is the youngest of eight siblings and not everyone was entirely positive about an open Instagram account at first. They thought there would be a lot of hatred. And of course it happens, but those comments are removed by Fredrik and 95 percent of the response is still positive. Many appreciate that Thomas dares to be himself and that he spreads joy, love and motivation.
– It is so much more positive than negative and everyone we have met and talked to is positive. People usually say that it’s great fun that we do what we do, and that he lives nearby. Now, later on, you notice that we have a voice in everyday life and manage to inform about Down’s syndrome, says Fredrik.
A whole weekend with the idol
In November, Thomas had a visit from the youtuber SampeV2, Thomas’ biggest role model after Ronaldo. It increased the following even more.
– I watched him on Youtube when he played Fortnite, says Thomas.
They went to the gym together, had dinner and went to a Luleå Hockey match where they could borrow a lounge. Thomas got a video game and a shirt.
– Thomas was really happy and got to sign his first autograph, says Fredrik.
When he visited Boden Brawl, several people took selfies with him and when he goes to town, people come forward and shake hands.
– He is very happy and it’s fun, but it’s also fun that people have started to see him and how unique he is. He has made so many more friends and always has someone to play with. Before, he was more alone, says Fredrik. #
Name / Thomas Vallgren
Also known as / @thomasking004
Do / Study at Stureskolan
Lives / In Sävast
Family / Mother, father and seven siblings
Interests / Fortnite, dancing, floorball, Instagram and playing field hockey and basketball at home on the farm
Favorite subject / Woodwork
Model / Ronaldo and SampeV2