Fundraising father takes to sleeping rough to raise money for autism

zzJDP_WOS_111013Shaw_03JPG-6204693Carmarthenshire, UK – After his son Jack was diagnosed with autism last month, Tom Nasmyth-Shaw, 29 from Ffos Las in Carmarthenshire, South Wales, decided he wanted to raise money for autism charities. But instead of deciding on a sponsored walk, or a skydive, he decided that he wanted to sleep rough on the streets of London mid winter.

Armed with only his sleeping back he hopes to raise money for people who he feels have been let down by the NHS. Jack’s diagnosis came two years after the couple had first sought help through the family doctor. He said

“When we knew something was not quite right with Jack , we decided to consult paediatricians and hire private therapists to enable my son to have the best possible chance in life. Over the last few years Jack has come on leaps and bounds and this is all down to the hard work of the therapists involved. Had we waited for the NHS to get involved we would only now be getting the help we needed ages ago.

“He didn’t really respond to his name, it was as if he was ignoring us,” he said. “He didn’t really care whether or not we played with him and didn’t seem too bothered where we were.

“It is heartbreaking, and obviously as a father you want to do things like play football and all those father and son things. There was nothing there, there was nothing being offered.”

The couple have spent a small fortune in therapies for their son as they picked up on the tell tale signs before the diagnosis came through. Tom explains:

“We had spent thousands. These services should be available on the NHS but unfortunately they’re not a priority. When autistic traits are mentioned to parents , they are left to wait for anything to happen. It is incredibly stressful because you want the best deal child. As much as we feel we haven’t been supported by the NHS, when NHS staff become involved with Jack they have been outstanding. So it’s not about the services per se it is about the funding”

Tom plans to sleep during the day time and try to keep awake during the night. If you would like to support him, go to his just giving page on:

www.justgiving.com/local/ project/alone-in-london or email Tom-shaw@hotmail.com