Published: 09:12, 14 May 2018
| Updated: 17:54, 14 May 2018
An inspirational teacher from Maidstone is hoping to return to the classroom with bionic hands after losing his legs and fingers to an almost deadly case of sepsis.
Greg Keating, an IT teacher at the Mascalls Academy, became critically ill with meningococcal sepsis and a rare strain of neisseria meningitis in January, having originally thought it was the flu, and his family are raising £50,000 to pay for the costly prosthetics.
This is not Greg’s first battle with ill-health though. He’s had an on-going battle with leukaemia (both as a child and again in his teens and twenties) and unbelievably has already had to learn to walk once before, after he contracted Guillain-Barré syndrome during his recovery following a bone marrow transplant, leaving him paralysed from the waist down.
At first the 30-year-old felt like he may be getting flu but he and his partner Jo Northage knew it was a lot more serious when he awoke one morning with a purple nose and a purple arm from blood poisoning and was rushed straight to A&E.
Despite his horrendous history of illness Greg, who also taught at The Howard School in Rainham between 2012 and 2016, is keen to carry on his computing teaching at his Paddock Wood school.
His partner Miss Northage, also 30, said: “The sepsis caused total organ failure along with necrosis of the legs and fingers, resulting in him being placed into a coma for a month and a half.
“After a long battle in intensive care at Maidstone hospital, he was transferred to Canterbury where he had below knee amputation on both legs.
“A month later, he was transferred to East Grinstead for skin grafts and amputation of fingers on both hands.”
In his late twenties Greg was also diagnosed with Nephrotic Syndrome which is a form of kidney disease. Fortunately, after 18 months of treatment his kidneys started to recover.
Despite all this suffering Greg continued his education graduating from Canterbury Christchurch University with a computing degree, leading to him taking up a teaching career.
After a few years of teaching he achieved a Master’s Degree in Education.
Jo said: "Greg has a great sense of humour and remains positive. He has a great interest in football and sports, supporting his local football team, Gillingham FC as well as Manchester United; enjoys attending music festivals, WWE and NFL games, being an avid Seahawks fan and loves travelling.
“Greg has a long journey to recovery and will need help and support for his rehabilitation to everyday life and is determined not to let this latest trauma stop him returning to the classroom.
"Greg believes that every child deserves an education and despite his disabilities is eager to return to teaching to inspire and encourage the younger generation and provide them with IT skills required for this technical age and show them despite however many times you are knocked down, pick yourself up and keep going. In the words of Chumbawamba: I get knocked down but I get up again, you’re never gonna keep me down.”
Following his treatment Greg said: “I’d like to thank the doctors and nurses as well as the physio and occupational therapists at each hospital I have been treated in. Without the care and support they have provided I would not be where I am today”
“This time five months ago I was in a coma and today I am slowly rebuilding my strength and learning how to undertake everyday activities. Each day I take as it comes and week by week I can see progress in what I am able to do.”
To donate to Greg’s Just Giving page visit tinyurl.com/gregteach
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