Transcription of the profile kindly written by Dot Tusler (physio lead at Stoke Mandeville hospital):
(NATIONAL SPINAL INJURIES CENTRE – STOKE MANDEVILLE HOSPITAL)
For over 20 years the Girdlers’ charity has made an annual grant to the Stoke Mandeville Spinal Injuries Centre. The grant goes towards helping those with spinal injuries, participate in sport as in-patients and importantly, after their departure.
The winner of the Girdlers’ Medallion this year is Tom Nabarro. Tom was an engineering student at Brunel University in 2007 when he had a snowboarding accident. He acquired a C4 spinal injury: complete paralysis of his body and legs.
Tom underwent 15 months of rehabilitation at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, developing a good understanding of the medical condition. He thought a lot about the role of IT for people with spinal injuries, especially with regard to alternative computer input methods for people, unable to use a mouse and keyboard. Tom graduated with a first class honours degree in Electronics and Microelectronic Engineering, along with two awards – one for overall best student, and the other for his placement achievement, which was presented by Siemens.
Tom then started his career in software development with a specialist communications company in Romsey. He continues to create network-related software for government and private organisations.
Tom is involved in mentoring and advocacy for people with spinal cord injuries; giving feedback to assist in the development of personal health budgets; sitting on steering groups related to disability; helping with document reviews for the Department of Health.
Tom has had articles published on disabled access, travel and coping strategies.
Tom’s experience was most recently documented, from his and his mother’s perspective, in a book by a clinical psychologist. Tom’s story features in, “To Hell and Back – personal experiences of trauma and how we recover and move on”.
Tom is a mentor for the charity “Back Up” that works with individuals at Stoke Mandeville. He has assisted several newly injured people at Stoke Mandeville, in providing information and support. Tom’s manner has helped many, in having their questions answered, and anxieties relieved, in a way not possible from the rehabilitation team.
Tom has also provided training and support to professional groups. He gave the keynote presentation at the recent Multidisciplinary Association of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals.
Tom is an inspirational person, and a positive role model in all he does. He demonstrates independence and abilities in all he undertakes. He is accompanied by his wife Ellen, and Claire Guy from Stoke Mandeville.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN please welcome: TOM NABARRO