top of page

'The Story So Far'

Tom Ryan-Elliot:

"So, let’s step back and cover everything that’s happened to me over the past few years.

Alongside the Epilepsy Society and TFL, you may have seen me on the posters I feature in regarding hidden disabilities if you regularly travel around London.

The reason for that is because TFL has recently wanted to support those with hidden disabilities by creating the ‘Please Offer Me A Seat’ badges that you can get here.

I’ll explain some of the reasons why I was able to support both of them later but let’s step back and cover some of the things I did before this…..

When stepping out of University back in 2012, I was lucky enough to grab myself a Sales role in a graduate scheme within a huge technology organisation. It was a great position to be in, first within the office for a few years but then at the level of being allowed to go out and meet both partners and customers face to face.

Every year, there was a global event to cover both the good and bad of the past year and how we could improve to help our customers more. I was based in London but this event was in Las Vagas so we’d always have to watch it on a big screen here in the UK. That was great as we’d always celebrate at these events, but after 4 years, it was announced that everyone in sales would be brought out to Las Vegas to see the event live.

While yes, I could just fly to Las Vegas for the week, enjoy the event and then fly home, alongside friends, we agreed to do more while being over in the US. We decided to have a week’s holiday before the event in San Francisco which was fantastic. If you haven’t been there, it’s well worth going! We went to various locations around San Francisco, including Alcatraz (which scared me 📷).

While friends have told me and I’ve seen many pictures on Facebook (this one <<), I don’t remember anything about Las Vegas at all, not even the flight to there from San Francisco. In terms of the pictures, I’ve seen myself in a busy pool party after we arrived, apparently, we all then went out to bet at the casinos.  After a few hours of betting (where I believe I lost quite a bit), I decided to walk myself back to the hotel. It was that walk where everything went wrong….

I fell down 51 marble steps and was immediately taken to the UMC Trauma Centre. I was treated for swelling around my brain and they removed a large part of my skull and damaged brain to prevent any further injury.  My parents were called early in the morning over here in the UK to fly over as there was a real chance I would not survive.

For you all reading this…..I DID!!!

I was then flown back to the UK in a private Learjet aeroplane, making me seem like a rich multimillionaire but unfortunately, I was still in a Coma and did not realise we had to actually stop in Canada, Greenland and Iceland. This was to refuel because we needed to fly at a low altitude due to the surgery I’d had to remove a large section of my skull.

Upon landing here in the UK, I spent the next 8 months in multiple different hospitals. I also had Cranioplasty and plastic surgery to replace the section of my skull. The new section I have is made from Titanium meaning that I set off every alarm when going through security sections such as when entering clubs or the airport!! Good and funny conversation with the security team in the airport especially if I am in another country, most phrasebooks don’t give you the words for a titanium skull.

The initial conversation after the accident was that I would never walk or talk again, I was lucky to even still be alive. But even just reading this, you’ll probably already know that I never shut up📷.

My life, after the injury, has changed significantly. Organisations such as Headway and the Epilepsy Society have been fantastic at helping me realise the changes that have happened and how I can properly manage them moving forward.

I originally thought that when I moved out of the hospital, I’d be back to normal and able to continue with my life. Life has significantly changed! I struggle with many things…

As I stated when first starting this, the injury has caused me to have Epilepsy which really has changed my life. I’m still in the position of having seizures which have made me stay in many of the London Hospitals. It’s sad I know but I’ve literally got a document where I list all of the ones I’ve stayed in. While seizures are bad, at least I’m exploring multiple different hospitals📷.

I usually have Simple Focal Seizures which simply means I can’t talk for a few minutes and make me look slightly odd (more than I am now) but sometimes, I have Tonic-Clonic Seizures which completely knock me out and are the reasons for needing a hospital.

While yes, they are bad, let’s give you a bit more upbeat story of what happened…

I was previously using BorrowMyDoggy and was looking after a Spaniel. While Spaniels are awesome and so much fun, the one I was looking after was a puppy so always needed lots of long walks to burn off its energy. Because of that, I decided to take it all the way over to the East of London and around Victoria Park. When we’d done the walk, I actually live over in the West so decided to get on a bus and head home. I’ve been told that dogs automatically can tell if you’re going to have a seizure and this one certainly did.

It jumped up and was barking at me which before I knew what was happening he seemed to know something was about to happen and was warning me. Everyone around me on this double-decker bus seemed to ignore the fact that I was having a seizure and did nothing. While at that time, it was a Simple Focal Seizure, the next thing I remember was actually waking up after having a Tonic-Clonic Seizure. Everyone from this double-decker had been kicked off in Shoreditch at about 6pm (very busy time with people getting home from work) by the team in the ambulance and Bus driver. This probably didn’t make me the most popular person to the other passengers but I did do my seizure in style!! 📷

Hopefully, this made some of the other passengers realise that some disabilities are invisible.

While I’ve spoken about Epilepsy, Aphasia is the big problem that I’ve had since the accident. It essentially means that I can’t properly go back to work or do anything similar to what I did beforehand. It’s meaning that I’m currently unsure of what I can actually do in life. I’m determined to find something that I will truly enjoy at some point in the future as I improve.


It’s been a real struggle to create a social life without actually going to work and meeting new people. Yes, work is usually very hard but you do meet new people and have fun. You plan nights out and things to do at the weekend. I’m stuck at home not really having any clues of what I can do. Without work, life can become quite isolated. That can lead to me feeling lonely, bored which brings me down.

Looking at some of the positive things, I know love photography and you’ll see that by looking more around this site. It’s sad I know but one of the other benefits is the TFL Freedom Pass! Literally, they are amazing and means I can explore anywhere in London to take more pictures each day.

But…. While I’ve moaned a bit, let’s finish with some more positive things that might make you smile.

Firstly, after everything you’ve read, I’m still alive which was very unknown when first out in Las Vegas.

Secondly, As you’ve read here, I can still walk and talk!

Thirdly, People say that I’ve become a nicer person.

The final thing to say is the fact that I’m rebuilding my life slowly but surely and like at the beginning of this speech

I DO have a promising future in front of me."

55 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page