Survivor: Thomas Graham, 14, pictured here at a campdraft event earlier this year, has made good progress on his road to recovery from a horrific campdrafting accident in July.
Survivor: Thomas Graham, 14, pictured here at a campdraft event earlier this year, has made good progress on his road to recovery from a horrific campdrafting accident in July.

Seelands teen back from coma

IT WOULD have to be on the top-10 list of ‘every parent’s worst nightmare’ – to watch your teenage son suffer a massive head injury just metres away, his future uncertain.

Welcome to the world of Sandra and George Graham, of Seelands, who saw their son Thomas come off his horse at a campdraft event at Ulmarra on Saturday, July 24. One family member was even video-taping.

Tom, 14, hit the ground hard, absorbing the full impact with his head and early thoughts were a horse had fallen on him.

His breathing deteriorated at the scene and he was placed on a ventilator before being airlifted to the Gold Coast Hospital in a critical condition

Sandra and George were unable to accompany Tom in the helicopter due to the medical attention required – they hit the road bound for the Gold Coast instead – uncertain as to Tom’s condition.

The action-loving teenager was placed in an induced coma to assist with reducing swelling and he remained in that state for many days after the accident, all the while his parents at his bedside.

Reports from his family indicate Tom started to wake up a few weeks ago with semi-conscious speech – positive signs his recovery was headed in the right direction.

Tom is now in the children’s ward of the Gold Coast Hospital in a stable condition, and will remain there until his upcoming transfer to the Royal Children’s Hospital in Brisbane, where he will begin an extensive rehabilitation program.

Though Tom’s long-term prognosis is uncertain at this stage, a more definite outcome will be known when full-scale rehabilitation begins, in the next few days, the family hopes.

Family members said yesterday Sandra and George had remained positive throughout the ordeal and were continuing to support and encourage Tom through his recovery.

“Tom has always been very active and determined to achieve in all that he does, so all his family and friends are confident that this situation will be no different,” his aunt, Michelle Nelson, said.

Tom was born and raised in the Clarence Valley, attending Grafton Primary and Grafton High schools, and is a keen sportsman.

He is a member of the under-15 Redmen rugby team, and the Brothers and Clarence representative cricket teams.

Sandra and George have remained at Tom’s bedside since the accident, relocating to motel accommodation near the hospital, and both have been unable to work in order to provide this much-needed care and support.

The couple, along with Tom’s sisters Casey and Megan, would like to thank their family, friends and the local community for the generous support and care that has been offered and provided during this difficult time.

A fundraising committee, comprising the Grahams’ family and friends, has formed to raise some much-needed funds to assist the family during this time.

The first major fundraising event will be a Helping Hands trivia night on Thursday, September 23, at the Grafton District Services Club.

A raffle will be run in conjunction with this event and an auction is planned as part of the proceedings on the night.

Nomination forms and further information can be obtained through the club.

Another major event is being planned for Saturday, October 23, with further details to be made available in the coming weeks.

The committee will be approaching local businesses over the coming weeks asking for donations of goods or services to support planned fundraising activities and events.

Donations of any value can also be made to the ‘Thomas Graham Appeal Fund’ through the Grafton branch of The Greater Building Society.



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