Josie’s story

Josie’s story

Josie was nine when her 22-year-old brother Tom sustained a high-level spinal cord injury in a snowboarding accident. She’s raising money for Back Up by running the 2024 TCS London Marathon, to help the charity that supported her whole family through an incredibly traumatic time.

“The whole concept of running 26.2 miles is challenging. But it’s amazing to see what you can achieve when you put your mind to something. My eldest brother Tom is testament to that. On the 3 April 2007, our family’s life changed. Tom, who was 22 at the time, had been in a snowboarding accident in Bulgaria.

Josie and Tom with their younger brother

I remember the day I found out with crystal clear clarity. I was nine years old and with my Dad at the zoo. He took a phone call and went really quiet. Then simply said, “Tom’s been in an accident. I need to go and see him.” After a period of uncertainty, and some touch and go moments, we learnt Tom had sustained a high-level spinal cord injury. Tom would never walk again.

Following emergency surgery to stabilise his neck, he was transferred to Stoke Mandeville hospital. He was there for 1.5 years. There’s a 13-year age gap between me and Tom but we’ve always been close. I’ve always looked up to him and as my big brother, he’s played a ‘protector’ role in my life. I remember seeing my active, strong, healthy brother surrounded by medical equipment but I didn’t really know what it meant. I was so young that I didn’t grasp the seriousness of it all and I couldn’t fully comprehend why everyone around me was so sad.

It was incredibly hard to watch Tom lose weight, see his injuries and scars, and witness him looking so weak. I helped to feed Tom, gave him drinks – further strengthening our relationship in this difficult time. We were sharing new experiences together, and we learnt more about each other too. As I grew up and Tom got better, the initial fears ebbed away. I watched him overcome obstacles and my fears were replaced by massive admiration.

Tom at a Back Up ski course

Following Tom’s accident, Back Up was there for support. They took Tom on an adaptive ski karting course in Sweden where he was surrounded by others with spinal cord injuries. It gave Tom an opportunity to push outside of his comfort zone, experiencing activities he didn’t think possible. Tom is also a mentor to others with spinal cord injuries, guiding them through one of the toughest periods in their life.

That’s why I’m running the London Marathon to fundraise for Back Up – to support their effort in helping other individuals, and their families, when they face a spinal cord injury.

Tom has encountered the hardest challenges and constantly strives to be the best human he possibly can. He’s a skilled software engineer, working on complex computer software, creating code through speech. Tom is doing everything he was before. He still goes skiing, we’re planning a family trip to Ibiza for his 40th birthday this summer, he has a beautiful wife and has two amazing children. He just happens to be a tetraplegic. For us, his injury feels like a minor detail about his exciting life.

Josie as a bridesmaid at Tom’s wedding

Tom continues to inspire me to be the best I can be too. He’s my biggest supporter and continues to positively influence my life. I am constantly grateful for the joy he brings to me.

Seeing thousands of runners supporting so many charities in the London Marathon is always incredibly inspiring. There is an amazing story behind every runner. For me, the marathon isn’t about getting a great time. I want to raise money for Back Up and help the charity that supported my brother and our whole family through an incredibly traumatic time. I am so proud to be part of #TeamBackUp.”

To support Josie and donate to #TeamBackUp, visit

London Marathon 2025

Marathon Day next year is Sunday 27 April 2025.

The ballot for the 2025 TCS London Marathon is open from Saturday 20 April 2024 and closes on Friday 26 April 2024.

If you would like to run for Back Up in the London Marathon 2025 or would like more information then please get in touch with our events team at, or call 020 8875 1805

Read more: London Marathon