An 18-year-old student from Stevenage has signed up to take on the Lister Abseil on March 26 2023 to thank A&E staff at the hospital for saving his life.

Tom Brett thought he had a common cold in November last year but after four days, he became paralysed and lost his ability to speak. He was taken to Lister Hospital’s A&E department and immediately placed on a ventilator. He was then transferred to Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge that night for life-saving surgery.

Tom said: “Fluid that had quickly built up in my sinuses had penetrated my skull and was surrounding my brain. Without surgery, it would have compressed my brain and killed me.

“Fortunately, the craniotomy surgery was a success and following further surgery to drain fluid from behind my eye, the team were able to save my eye and incredibly, my sight.

“I was still completely paralysed for 12 days after the surgery but received the most amazing care and am now recovering well.

“My consultant has given me the ok, so I am taking on the Lister Abseil challenge to raise funds to show my gratitude to the A&E department at Lister Hospital. Their super-quick actions and transfer to Addenbrookes Hospital saved my life. I am so incredibly grateful and fortunate. Life is precious.”

Eloise Huddleston – our charity director said: “Wow! Tom is incredible for taking on the abseil challenge.

He has been through so much, so we applaud him for taking on this epic challenge so soon after his illness and life-saving surgery. Go Tom!”

To support Tom, visit: