Hi and welcome to Cammpaign4Rob. In September 2013 Rob Camm, like teenagers up and down the country, was making final preparations to head off to start his university course. Tragically , the week before he left, Rob was involved in a terrible accident which would see him facing the rest of his life paralysed from the neck down and needing a ventilator for his breathing. This is his story.
After completing his A-Levels at Wycliffe College in July 2012 Rob, who grew up in Gloucestershire with his parents and younger sister, decided to take a gap year. He worked for the first 6 months to earn some money and then in early 2013 set off to Fiji where he helped build a health clinic on the small island Waitoga.
Then Rob moved on to New Zealand where he combined work with playing rugby for Marist Albion RFC, in the Canterbury area of South Island. He then went traveling in Australia and managed to watch the first British & Irish Lions vs Australia test in Brisbane.
After a short period of travelling back in New Zealand, Rob returned to the UK. Rob was looking forward to starting pre-season rugby training at York University in September 2013 before he started studying for his degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. On 15th September, after playing his final match for his local team, Dursley RFC, Rob was involved in the tragic accident which would change his life forever.
Rob, an active sports man, rugby player and rower suffered a C3 spinal injury in the crash. This is a very high level spinal injury which means that he is now tetraplegic – paralysed from the neck down and reliant on a ventilator for his breathing for the rest of his life. Rob, however, is determined to rebuild his life as far as he is able and still wants to take a place at University.
After 96 days looking up at the same ceiling tiles in Frenchay Hospital’s ICU Rob was transferred to the specialist spinal unit in Salisbury just before Christmas to continue the process of building a new life for himself. The emphasis in the spinal unit is very different and the focus is very much on helping Rob prepare for his new life when he comes home. Within the first week after the New Year holiday Rob was able to spend time sitting up in a wheelchair starting at 15 minutes and gradually building this up each day. Now he is up in his chair for 7 hours each day and the challenge is to be able to remove the humidifier from his ventilator circuit. This will allow Rob to use a portable ventilator system attached to his chair so he can spend time outside and away from his bed.
Rob has a lot to learn about his new life as he has to be able to direct his carers in all aspects of his care, not only his medications but also things like making sure his clothes and sheets are smooth underneath him so as not to cause skin problems. Any pressure sores could confine Rob to bed for weeks or months. There is a lot for Rob and his family to learn and adjust to.
Following Rob’s accident lots of his friends and family wanted to do something positive to help. Not only is Rob going to need everyone’s on-going love and support but there are some practical things that will make a huge difference to Rob’s mobility and communication and hence future quality of life.
Thank you for visiting Cammpaign4Rob.