Runner will raise cash to help paralysed mate

Award-winning Gosforth athlete Drew Graham who sustained a serious spinal injury on September 21 in a diving accident while swimming in the United States.
Award-winning Gosforth athlete Drew Graham who sustained a serious spinal injury on September 21 in a diving accident while swimming in the United States.

A Cramlington ex-pat is taking in the Dubai Marathon next month to fund urgent rehabilitation treatment for a paralysed athlete.

Award-winning Gosforth athlete Drew Graham sustained a serious spinal injury on September 21 in a diving accident while swimming in the United States.

The former Gosforth Harrier runner, who now lives in the States, broke his C4 vertebrae when he dived into a creek in Colorado.

Drew underwent six hours of life-saving surgery following the accident, and despite losing all movement below his shoulders, he is currently beginning a long rehabilitation programme and is showing encouraging early signs of progress.

Now his friend and fellow runner David Thompson, who is originally from Cramlington and is now living in the UAE, has pledged to run the Dubai Marathon on January 23 in a fundraising effort to assist with medical costs that are not covered by Drew’s health insurance.

David, who grew up in Northburn, said: “Our friendship goes back over ten years and I know beyond any doubt that Drew would do exactly the same for me.

“Drew is now recovering at a rehabilitation hospital in the USA, but his medical insurance will not cover the costs of his treatment.

“Some of the happiest memories of my life were made with Drew.”

The money raised by David will go directly to the cost of Drew’s treatment and rehabilitation over the coming months.

To make a donation in support of David’s run, visit https://www.justgiving.com/yimby/davidthompson#/