Tom, my step-dad drove me home when I finished University. He drove me home when I completed the London Marathon. He would drop me off at nightclubs when I was a teenager. He picked me up from houses of former boyfriends with all my things in bags, saying soothing words as we drove away from my broken relationships. Always he drove me with a loving smile and a warm heart. Tom loves to drive. Now as he lays helpless with a poorly heart, the only thing I can do for him is help others in his name.
Selfishly, to stop myself from being engulfed in the flames of grief (and being a burden to my family) I rang several airlines to ask if they would support discounted flights for people in crisis travelling to the bedside of dying relatives. And most said YES! I am starting a charity in Toms honour which will provide free travel for people to make trips to terminally ill loved ones.
Its not just Toms illness that has prompted this. I’ve been thinking and talking about starting a charity to provide help for people travelling to the bedside or funerals of loved ones for years. It is a very difficult journey to make and often very expensive. And now with so many of us living apart, its a huge logistical problem.
I envisage some kind of crowdfunding for it in the future. Last August I met a young man on a train whose brother had died suddenly in a swimming accident. He was 19 and from Kenya. His brother (23) had to travel from Kenya to identify the body in Austria, using up all the money the family had. He was silently distraught. I had no words of comfort. His situation gave me sleepless nights for a week as I reasoned with the sheer tragedy. Now I can see how painful it is to travel in crisis and also how I would feel it I wasn’t able to travel to be with my family.
The first point of service provision will be free flights. In time we will extend the services. I will get it setup as a registered charity in the next week and get a website online.
Toms Travel will initially provide:
– Free air travel for those with critically ill relatives
– Bereavement and planning support for travel.
You can support Toms Travel by sharing this post so people can apply for help. I will use these applications to demonstrate impact and apply for grants to provide free travel for people travelling to dying or deceased relatives.
My heart is breaking that there is not more I can do for Tom. But I hope Toms Travel will help others and share the kindness and Love Tom has brought to my life and my families. The photo is of him and my mum after he drove us back from my graduation.
I will add the website, when its setup. For now, anyone needing help can apply below.
With love always,