A teenager who is due to have his leg amputated has climbed one of the UK’s highest artificial climbing walls to raise funds for a racing wheelchair.
Brave Thomas Green, 14, of Elland, was born with a degenerative bone condition in his left leg. He had endured 20 operations to try and ease the agonising pain before surgeons advised amputation.
But rather than dwell on his condition, the Brooksbank School pupil is looking at how the amputation will enable him to pursue his love of sport.
Thomas’ endurance effort saw him scale the outdoor climbing wall at ROKT in Brighouse on Saturday – which is higher than both the Tower of London and the Angel of the North.
“You only have to give Tom an idea, and he will always say, ‘Yeah, I’ll do it!’” says Sarah Pearce, Brooksbank School’s learning support assistant.
It was Sarah who came up with the idea for the wall climb which has so far raised an impressive £1,300 towards a £2k target.
Benn Stoker, General Manager of ROKT, said: "Tom was sensational - he was a bit nervous at first, understandably, but once he got onto ROKTFACE he never looked back. I'm still a bit in shock at how fast he completed the entire route. There are many seasoned climbers who would struggle, but Tom just went for it."
Thomas and his family even threw him a ‘leg leaving party’ to say goodbye to his leg. It was due to be amputated earlier this year as it causes him intense pain due to a ‘venous malformation’ behind his knee.
But months on, the operation is yet to take place, as a new surgeon has now suggested a pioneering form of amputation.
Known as a rotationplasty, the procedure involves taking the foot from the removed limb and grafting it to the bottom of his thigh, so Thomas’ heel would sit where his kneecap would have been, with the toes dangling down below. That foot then sits in a prosthetic leg, providing much more mobility than a conventional above-the-knee amputation.
Thomas is yet to decide whether to have a rotationplasty or a full prosthesis, but whatever choice he makes, he has set his sights on becoming a Paralympic champion wheelchair racer.
Thomas’ appetite for sport has flourished due to the opportunities provided through Panathlons, a charity which supports young disabled athletes.
His father Matthew said: “Without Panathlon we would have struggled to get Tom many sporting opportunities.
“It has given him the appetite to pursue wheelchair racing. He’s thrived and we’re really proud of him, but also grateful to his school and the charity for what they’ve done for him.”
To donate to Thomas’ wheelchair fund go to www.gofundme.com/toms-wheelchair-fund?lang=en