A former model who was left unable to walk, talk, eat or drink following a horrific car crash is to take part in a gruelling endurance challenge for Imperial Health Charity after being saved by medics at St Mary’s Hospital.
Tyrell Todd modelled for GQ and Italian Vogue before suffering catastrophic injuries in the near-fatal crash in January 2015.
He suffered a major bleed inside his brain and had part of his skull removed in a life-saving operation at the hospital.
Tyrell then spent four weeks in a coma and another three months recovering in a hospital bed before he could begin his rehabilitation.
Less than three years later, however, Tyrell is taking on the Tough Mudder – a 12-mile obstacle course through overgrown woodlands and thick, muddy bogs.
The 23-year-old, who previously modelled at the London, Paris and New York Fashion Weeks, has entered the event to raise money for Imperial Health Charity, which supports St Mary’s and the four other hospitals of the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.
“My speech is still slurred and my concentration levels are not good, but I am trying to move past those difficulties and do something for my kids and the hospital staff who saved my life,” said Tyrell.
“I feel like I am ready to go ahead and do it. It will be nothing compared to what I went through before.”
Tyrell was in the passenger seat of a friend’s car in Potter’s Bar when it spun off the road and struck a tree.
He was rushed to St Mary’s and taken into theatre, where surgeons cut out a section of his skull to treat a large bleed inside his brain. When he eventually woke from an induced coma, he could no longer walk or talk and was being fed through a tube.
“I was moved to the intensive care unit where I was placed on a ventilator and fighting for my life,” he added. “The odds of me surviving the crash were slim to none and my family was losing hope.
“However, the surgery was a success and after spending four weeks in a coma I came through. Ever since then I have wanted to find a way to say how much I appreciate the amazing team of doctors and nurses and all the staff at the Major Trauma Centre who were so dedicated to looking after me.”
Tyrell, who lives in Sudbury, Suffolk, has not been able to work since the crash and now receives care at home five days a week. His rehabilitation is ongoing.
“At first I could not remember anything,” he added. “It took me a month to remember that I had two kids. It was a scary process. I had to put my life back together from people telling me bits and pieces. I’m still not used to it but I’m just grateful to have been given a second chance at life.”
Tyrell had regular physio and speech therapy sessions at St Mary’s following the operation – crucial first steps that eventually enabled him to walk and talk again.
He aims to raise £1,500 for the charity by taking on the Tough Mudder in Faygate, West Sussex, on 23 September. The charity will make sure all the money he raises goes straight back to the Major Trauma Centre at St Mary’s.
He added: “I want to show the staff at St Mary’s how far I have come over the last two and a half years and to prove to them that their efforts have not gone unnoticed. They basically brought me back to life and I want them to see what their work has achieved.
“Hopefully, this money can also enable them to provide the same level of care to other people who end up in the same terrible situation as me."
If you would like to sponsor Tyrell, you can visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tyrell-todd