Tom’S Aim To Take On South Run After Tragic Fall

Great Comeback 3

To enter the Simplyhealth Great South Run, visit: Greatrun.org/South

A young man who signed up to a 10-mile run for charity before he suffered brain damage in a tragic accident while on holiday has made a miracle recovery and vowed to continue to complete the event in a wheelchair.

Tom Harris, from Dummer near Basingstoke, was on holiday with friends in Slovenia this August when he fell off a ledge and landed on his head in a tragic accident.

Tom, who is only 23, was left with a bleed on the brain and was in a coma for 22 days and parents Leroy and Louise rushed from the UK to be at his bedside.

Leroy and Louise feared that they would lose their son after his brain began to swell and he was forced to undergo an operation to relieve the pressure that was building around it.

Thankfully, Tom came out of his coma and after just under a month, he was able to return to the UK for further rehabilitation treatment at North Hants Hospital, close to where the family live.

Tom has made incredible progress, going from communicating by mere blinks, to restoring his entire memory and being able to get back on his feet again through physiotherapy.

Back in April, Tom decided to sign up to the Simplyhealth Great South Run with his Dad, to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust in memory of his childhood friend Sam Hooker, who died last year.

Since the accident, Tom's friends entered the event to run in his name, but his condition has improved so much that he has decided to join them on Sunday 22 October to complete the run he signed up to.

As he still struggles to walk long distances, Tom will take on the 10 miles in his late friend's wheelchair, along with his friends and family named ‘Team Tom' for support.

They will take on the world's leading 10 mile run for the Teenage Cancer Trust, in memory of Sam and the brain injury charity Headway.

The fast and flat course takes particpants on a tour of Portsmouth and Southsea, passing through Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and finishing on the scenic sea front.

Tom said: “Myself and my Dad originally signed up to the event as I wanted to run for Sam who died of leukaemia last year.

“Myself and some friends went on holiday to Slovenia in August. I have no memory from my accident at all but from what I have been told, I slipped on a ledge and fell down a steep slope, landing on my head.

“I was in an induced coma for three weeks before I woke up. Over time I built up my mental and physical strength but my recovery was a great surprise to everyone.

“The only thing I don't remember is the accident, I have managed to keep the rest of my memory completely.

“My parents kept my friends updated on my progress and they've been so supportive during this time. They signed up to do the Simplyhealth Great South Run in my place as ‘Team Tom' to make sure that the charity I was raising money for got recognition.

“When I was in hospital back in Baisingstoke, I decided I wanted to still take on the event, but I knew I probably wouldn't be strong enough to walk it.

“We were going to hire a wheelchair so I could be pushed but then Sam's Mum offered me his old one to use, which will be a very special moment.”

Tom spent four weeks in hospital in Slovenia before being transported by air ambulance back to home soil once he regained consciousness, and all of his medication and sedation was stopped and his mental health, strength and mobility began to improve.

Tom's progress has been something that has amazed his parents, who have seen him go from being in critical care in Slovenia to receiving no medication or treatment at home and his memory being completely in tact.

Dad Leroy, 55, said: “Tom's progress has amazed us all. The depth and speed of his recovery has been truly amazing.

“To see where he has come from where one blink meant yes and two blinks meant no, to being able to remember his own password on his smartphone is hard to believe.

“The worst part for us as parents was when we were in the hospital in Slovenia and the pressure on his brain was building, we did not know if he was going to come out alive.

“Tom and I signed up to the Simplyhealth Great South Run in April and said we would train together, but after his accident all of that went from our minds.

“His friends were determined to run in his place but Tom's progress has been so positive that he is going to join them in a wheelchair and be pushed around the course.

“His strength is definitely building, we managed to walk 4km the other day but him taking part in Sam's wheelchair is more achievable and also very poignant.”

To support Tom's fundraising, click here

To support Team Tom, visit their fundraising page.

To enter the Simplyhealth Great South Run, visit: Greatrun.org/South