Back in June, we were shocked to hear that news that one of our recent leavers, Thomas Lazarides (2018 C), had been involved in a life-changing accident. When diving into a swimming pool, he fractured his neck in two places and sustained a serious spinal cord injury. His friends saved his life, however, Tom faced the realistic possibility of being paralysed from the chest down.
Airlifted to an intensive care bed at King’s College Hospital in London, he was unable to move and could breathe only with the assistance of a ventilator. Whilst in hospital, things took a turn for the worse as he contracted rhabdomyolysis, which began to eat away at his muscles; which has slowed his recovery considerably.
With knowledge of the costs involved in providing Tom with the physiotherapy and treatment needed, his friends, from both SVS and university, have banded together to support the fundraising. Over the summer they set up ‘Tom’s Fight’ with a series of fundraising challenges aimed to raise £30,000. Their first swim challenge took them from Bradford upon Avon to Bristol, swimming 36km over two days raising £19,000!
This was followed up by a second challenge which began with a climb of Ben Nevis and then a swim from Fort William to Fort Augustus, through the Caledonian Canal and Lochs, covering over 26 miles through freezing waters. They then returned by canoe and reclimbed to to the summit of Nevis, all within five days – an incredible feat.
The fund has now exceeded the original target and currently sits at over £33,000. The fundraising continues though and fellow Old Suttonian Jordan Davis (2016 W) has started a project to make a photo book of pictures and words from Tom’s friends and family. Initially this was intended as a gift for the Lazarides family but he now hopes to sell copies to friends and family.
As an update on Tom himself, his mum has provided the following news, “Slowly, slowly he is getting better. He is off his ventilator now and he has had the collar taken away. He is slowly getting arm movement back but it is very, very slow. But we have to believe it will happen. I’m determined to believe that we will get him back.”
As a community, the School and SVS Foundation continue to support Tom and his family. If you would like to donate to ‘Tom’s Fight’, please do so via JustGiving.
To read Tom’s mum’s full update in the Kent Messenger, please click here.