Appeal to Help a Superhero Teacher Who Needs to Learn to Walk and Write Again
AN INSPIRING JustGiving crowdfunding campaign has been launched to help an absolutely remarkable young man learn to walk and write again so that he can return to the classroom to continue what he loves most – teaching.
30-year-old, computing teacher Greg Keating, from Maidstone, lost his lower legs and the fingers on both hands after becoming critically ill with meningococcal sepsis and a rare strain of neisseria meningitis, in January this year. His family are currently investigating the possibility of funding bionic hands.
This is not Greg’s first battle with ill-health though. He’s had an on-going battle with leukaemia (both as a child and again in his teens and twenties) and unbelievably has already had to learn to walk once before, after he contracted Guillain-Barré syndrome during his recovery following a bone marrow transplant, leaving him paralysed from the waist down.
At first, Greg, an ICT teacher at The Mascalls Academy in Kent, felt like he may getting flu but he and his partner Jo Northage (30) knew it was a lot more serious when he awoke one morning with a purple nose and a purple arm from blood poisoning and was rushed straight to A&E.
On his JustGiving page his partner Jo said “The sepsis caused total organ failure along with necrosis of the legs and fingers, resulting in him being placed into a coma for a month and a half. After a long battle in intensive care at Maidstone hospital, he was transferred to Canterbury where he had below knee amputation on both legs. A month later, he was transferred to East Grinstead for skin grafts and amputation of fingers on both hands.”
From a young age, Greg has had a constant struggle with his health. At the age of 11 he was hospitalised and treated for leukaemia. He won this battle and continued his education suffering with a second bout of leukaemia at the age of 17. Again, he managed to fight the cancer, while completing his A Levels in hospital, only for it to return a third time at the age of 21.
Three months into his recovery from the bone marrow transplant, which he received from his sister, he had a further set back when he contracted Guillain-Barré syndrome (a serious autoimmune disorder, in which the immune system attacks healthy nerve cells in the peripheral nervous system). This left Greg paralysed from the waist down with the doctors telling him he was probably not going to walk again. However, never one to be defeated, within a year, incredibly Greg had learnt to walk again.
As if he hadn’t already had enough to contend with. In his late twenties Greg was also diagnosed with Nephrotic Syndrome which is a form of kidney disease. Fortunately, after 18 months of treatment his kidneys started to recover.
Despite all this suffering, Greg continued his education graduating from Canterbury Christchurch University with a Computing Degree, leading to him taking up a teaching career. After a few years of teaching he achieved a Master’s Degree in Education.
His partner Jo continued: “Greg has a great sense of humour and remains positive. He has a great interest in football and sports, supporting his local football team, Gillingham FC as well as Manchester United; enjoys attending music festivals, WWE and NFL games, being an avid Seahawks fan and loves travelling.
“Greg has a long journey to recovery and will need help and support for his rehabilitation to everyday life and is determined not to let this latest trauma stop him returning to the classroom.
“Greg believes that every child deserves an education and despite his disabilities is eager to return to teaching to inspire and encourage the younger generation and provide them with IT skills required for this technical age and show them despite however many times you are knocked down, pick yourself up and keep going. In the words of Chumbawamba: I get knocked down but I get up again, you’re never gonna keep me down.”
Greg said: “I’d like to thank the doctors and nurses as well as the physio and occupational therapists at each hospital I have been treated in. Without the care and support they have provided I would not be where I am today”
“This time five months ago I was in a coma and today I am slowly rebuilding my strength and learning how to undertake everyday activities. Each day I take as it comes and week by week I can see progress in what I am able to do.”
To support the appeal, please visit:
For further press information, please contact:
Jane Eggleton /Natalie Garland
T: +44 (0)20 3440 8924
E: [email protected]
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