A couple of weeks ago kind and caring Vicki Holden, a Teaching Assistant and Support Carer from Broadstairs set herself the challenge of running a 100 miles during the last 3 weeks of March. Especially impressive because Vicki doesn’t normally run!

Vicki is raising money for Joe Shaw. Just over a year ago (17th March 2018) Joe was back from Australia visiting his family in Ramsgate, and on a night out in an unprovoked attack he was left in a coma fighting for his life. With his family by his side and an incredible will to live Joe managed to pull through. However the severity of Joe’s injuries has left him unable to walk, speak or complete many basic tasks for himself.

None of this has dampened Joe’s spirit. He has fought all the way. In amazing testament to his resilience Joe is now in a Rehabilitation Centre and on the verge of being able to be allowed home, something he and his family desperately want for him.

It was at the rehabilitation Centre Vicki first met him. She explained

“The first time I worked with Joe I introduced myself to him and he replied “How are you” with the biggest smile on his face and then raised his hand for me to shake, it was at that point I thought, he’s very nice and polite and I wanted to know more about him and the journey he has been on in the last year.

Whilst assisting Joe with his breakfast, Joe chose to tell me about what happened the evening of the attack and how much he is determined to get back to leading a normal life. I would help anyone out if I could but it was the positivity, determination and inner strength of Joe that spurred me on to wanting to help him as much as possible as well as help his mum Nancy who is just amazing! Nancy has not left Joe’s side the whole time and has sacrificed her business and her social life to be with Joe as much as possible ensuring he receives the best care available to him.”

This paper covered the story last year and many amazingly generous local people did help. But as Joe’s mum explained Joe will not be allowed home unless they can get a home fit for him:

“The financial impact has been immense, both Joe and ourselves (parents) are self-employed which has meant one of us have had to give up work to be by Joe’s side. Anyone within the disability word will tell you how daunting and frightfully expensive it is. You have to fight for everything and frequently you don’t get what is needed and end up paying ridiculous prices for things yourself. One of Joe’s therapies cost £400 for six sessions and sadly the money has run out so now we need to look at how we are going to fund this.”

His mum, Nancy is working with KCC to get what help they can. It is not clear yet what support they will get or when. In the meantime Joe waits and, regardless of this the house will need adapting with equipment for Joe, a wet room, a motorised wheelchair, Nutrition and physio therapy support.

Upon hearing this, Vicki felt so moved by Joe’s plight, that she had to do something. Vicki decided she would do “whatever it takes” to raise the money to get Joe home. She started with a Just Giving page and then decided, even though not being a regular runner to run 100 miles in 3 weeks! Although this is a massive challenge Vicki said compared to what Joe and his family are going through it was “nothing” and Vicki does look set to do the lot. Significantly, Vicki explained:

“Joe has asked to be there for when I finish the last part of my run so I will be mapping my last part to end where Joe is staying so that he can come out in his wheelchair and watch me. I will then give my medal to him to keep as a memory.”

Joe, the family and Vicki have been moved by the support they have been receiving from local people who are “just so generous.” They had one, totally anonymous donation of £500. The Just Giving page has reached almost £1,000 in just three weeks! With Vicki setting herself the target of raising £5,000 by May she has been busy organising cake sales at work and a fundraising event in Birchington in May. With a band playing, raffle prizes and a model, Jamie Pert, putting himself through a waxing (where people can pay to pull off a strip!) she hopes to achieve that amount by the night. Vicki and the family are appealing for your support for this, for local businesses to consider donating prizes etc.

Anyone who can do this, or help in any way, however small, please contact Vicki at: [email protected] If anyone would like to donate to Joe’s fund please donate at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/v-holden100-mile-run-for-joe

Buoyed up by the support they are starting to get, Vicki and his family are feeling confident they will bring Joe home. They are feeling really positive about his operation in mid-April to have his skull re-formed. Joe communicates by spelling words out on a letter board with his right index finger. He said:

“I would like to start blogging about the journey I have been on so far and continue to go on, I will have full control of what is being written on my blogs but my mum will be the writer for me. Me and my mum are very close, without her I would not be here today, thank you mum.

When I am better I would like to travel around America and visit my aunty who lives there. Also Vicki loves music so I would like to go to a concert with her and have a few drinks, but recovering is my main focus for now.”

With Joe’s resilience and his family’s support, backed by local people it will not be long before Joe is back home where he belongs and where he wants to be.