Rhys, Callum’s Best Friend

Nicola Boyd, from Leeds, has nominated her son Callum’s best friend, Rhys Eastwood as her Unsung Hero.

In August 2013, Callum, now 15 years old, was climbing a tree when the branch broke. He fell through the branches, landed on a metal railing and then fell onto the pavement. He broke his back and clavicle, broke and dislocated ribs as well as sustaining a traumatic brain injury. He was in hospital for 5 months, 3 weeks of which were in the Intensive Care Unit, and he had 7 operations.

Here Nicola tells us the difference this loyal friend has made to her son since his accident.

“Right from the beginning Rhys has been an amazing support to Callum. When he was in hospital Rhys would visit every week. Initially Callum was not eating or talking, but this did not put Rhys off. He was determined to support his friend. Once Callum started eating he would come in with his family every Tuesday with pizza to encourage him to eat.

Since his discharge from hospital and his phased return to school, Rhys has stood by him. Socialising is the thing that Callum finds hardest at the moment. Not that he struggles with it, but because he has no-one to do with it – Callum has lost contact with so many of his friends since the injury. The fact that he can still rely on Rhys means that he still gets the opportunity to go out and socialise, like a normal 15 year old should. Rhys goes out of his way to include Callum whenever he can: cinema trips, coming to the house, having a kick about with the football, sleepovers. Callum relies so much on Rhys and Rhys is very loyal to Callum and treats him normally. This is so important.

I truly believe that the support that Rhys has provided has been fundamental to Callum’s recovery. The hospital were able to repair his broken bones, but they were unable to help with the lack of self-esteem, and feeling different. Rhys is helping with that repair process. He is helping by treating him like a normal 15 year old, including him, not making him feel “special”, and all the while ensuring that he is safe.

As a 15 year old boy himself he has shown levels of maturity and loyalty that make him a Hero.”


For information on childhood acquired brain injury and some of the issues around it, check out our Factsheets.

If you’d like to get involved with Action for Brain Injury Week, click here.

To view our other #ABIWeek2015 blog posts, click here.