Thomas keeps climbing

Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) patient Thomas is an avid mountaineer. After recovering from cancer, Thomas recently reached the summit of one of the highest mountains in Britain.

Before he became unwell, 12-year-old Thomas, who is one of the younger members of the Young People’s Forum and a Foundation Trust member, loved walking and scrambling on mountains with his dad, explains Thomas’s mum Annette.

The adventures had to be put on pause when Thomas was diagnosed with cancer and, during the most difficult days at GOSH, Thomas feared he may never go climbing again.

Annette said: “Even when he was very little, Thomas loved scrambling on the rocks at the beach with his dad. When Thomas got a bit older he set himself the challenge to climb Snowdon and Scafell Pike, which he loved, and he was gearing up for Ben Nevis when he was diagnosed.

A long road back

“Thomas has been through a lot in the last couple of year. At his lowest time in the hospital, he feared he would never climb a mountain again and was very upset.”

“When Thomas got better, he started thinking about whether such an adventure would be possible. He was still very much getting his strength and energy back but wanted to get out there and decided to try Snowdon again. It was a hard hike for him and there were lots of midges too, but he made it to the top with his dad and his cousin.”

Conquering Snowdon, the highest mountain in Wales, was his first climbing trip in the two years since his diagnosis.

“On his return down the mountain, I got the biggest cuddle from him, which showed how excited he was to have got through his treatment and be back out on the mountain. It was a very proud moment.”

Thomas is now planning to climb Ben Nevis in 2018 and wants to raise money for GOSH to say thank you for the help the hospital has given him and his family.

“Thomas’s achievement will hopefully inspire other children and give them hope that no matter how low they are feeling, they will one day be able to do the things they love again.”

Being part of the conversation

During Thomas’s stay in hospital, he and his mum met our Children and Young People’s Participation Officer in the Lagoon, and were introduction to the Young People’s Forum (YPF) – a group of patients, past and present, who meet up to swap stories, support each other and explore ways to improve life in hospital for patients. “Thomas has lots of fun when he goes to the meetings and finds being a member gives him lots of opportunities he wouldn’t get otherwise.”

Last year, Thomas loved taking part in the Takeover Challenge. “Thomas is fascinated by laboratories and all the technology in the hospital, and he got to take over the pharmacy – he was captivated by the robots that pull out the medication. The day was a chance to see the inner workings of the hospital and he found it really interesting.”

The November 2017 Takeover Challenge saw patients of all ages gain unique insights into the many different specialisms and roles within the hospital.

To find out more about the being part of the Young People’s Forum and the Takeover Challenge, visit the hospital website