March 15, 2017

Tom and JackAt this time of year, most of us are thinking about drinking hot chocolate beneath a fluffy throw cuddled up in front of the TV with the children, in anticipation of the snow falling outside our warm homes.

Not Tom Nasmyth Shaw from South Wales. He is just about to embark on an epic week, sleeping rough on the streets of the UK’s capital city. Autism Daily newscast reported on Tom’s story back in September, but as he is about to embark on his crusade for autism charities on December 2, we decided to ask him how he was preparing for his week on the streets.

Tom, 29, has a son, Jack who was diagnosed with autism in September of this year. Before diagnosis, Tom knew all was ot right with Jack, as essential milestones in his son’s development were delayed.

Tom explains:

“We’ve known something was not right since he was very little. Although they said Jack had autistic traits we couldn’t get any help from the NHS for a year due to waiting lists, so we sought private healthcare for speech and language therapy. By the time they saw Jack we were already six months ahead of them. Not all families can afford the route we took.”

And that played an integral part for Tom’s decision to fund raise, to aid families in the UK who simply cannot afford to go to a health care specialist privately to help their children. Tom works in the adult healthcare sector, and felt he wanted to do something different to fund-raise.

Tom and Jack

Tom said:

“I really wanted to do something  that would get people talking. Other people do great things like run a marathon, or a walk, cycle or even a skydive, I wanted to do something completely unexpected.”

Tom will sleep rough in London beginning on the night of December 2.  He has chosen the coldest part of the year to take his rucksack and sleeping bag challenge. We asked him if he was concerned for his safety during his stay.Tom has been lent a stab proof vest by the police, but still worries about the threat of being robbed.

So far, his campaign has raised just over £8,000 which will go towards helping families with early intervention therapies in South Wales, some therapists even taking a huge reduction in fees to help Tom with his cause. You can also follow his twitter stream and show your support.

We at Newscast wish all the best for Tom and his week on the streets, to donate to his fabulous cause, please click here.

Tom's bed for the week in London
Tom’s bed for the week in London


About the author 

Shân Ellis

Shân Ellis, is a qualified journalist with five years experience of writing features, blogging and working on a regional newspaper. Prior to working as a journalist, she was a ghost writer for top publishers and was closely involved in the editing and development of book series. Shân has a degree in the sciences, and 5 A levels. She lives in the UK and is the mother of an autistic child.

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