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Maidstone teacher who lost fingers and legs to meningitis and sepsis gets award after returning to the classroom

A Maidstone teacher who had both his legs and nearly all his fingers amputated after contracting an almost deadly strain of sepsis has praised his students for being his inspiration.

Greg Keating initially thought he had flu when he became poorly in January 2018, but had developed meningococcal sepsis and a rare strain of neisseria meningitis.

The 31-year-old spent more than a month in a coma but has now been praised for returning to teach IT at Mascalls Academy in Paddock Wood.

The school is run by the Leigh Academies Trust who presented Greg with a Special Recognition Award at their end of year awards ceremony.

He said: "There was definitely times when I was in hospital that I genuinely didn't think that I would make it back into the classroom so to now be picking up an award is amazing.

"It began when I started receiving messages from the students. Everyday I'd wake up and there'd be a new message through from another student, not even necessarily from Mascalls but from another student in the Leigh Academies Trust, and that truly inspired me.

"Without some of those messages I don't even know if I would be where I am know in my recovery process - it's been amazing."

Greg Keating spent more than a month in a coma after becoming ill
Greg Keating spent more than a month in a coma after becoming ill

More than £60,000 has been raised so Greg can get prosthetic limbs and one day walk back into the classroom.

He added: "I'm walking occasionally on my prosthetics but I'm having a little bit of problems with my legs at the moment so they're looking at ways of resolving that.

"Regarding the hands, they're looking at more surgery on the hands so they can work out what I could have prosthetic wise so it's still kind of a work in progress but hopefully in the near future I'll be back on my legs and teaching, almost normally.

"Getting around work has been fine, so thank you to the team at Mascalls who've made that easy for me. The transition from hospital back into work has been great and the students have just been incredible."

Greg Keating (right) with Leigh Academies Trust CEO Simon Beamish. Picture: Brandon Baily (13924614)
Greg Keating (right) with Leigh Academies Trust CEO Simon Beamish. Picture: Brandon Baily (13924614)

Greg, who also taught at The Howard School in Rainham between 2012 and 2016, has battled serious illness before.

He was diagnosed with leukaemia as a child and then again in his teens and twenties. He also had to learn to walk again after contracting Guillain-Barré syndrome during his recovery following a bone marrow transplant, leaving him paralysed from the waist down.

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 his illnesses Greg continued his education he graduated from Canterbury Christchurch University with a computing degree and later achieved a Master’s Degree in Education.

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