Faces of Sepsis Survivor Carries Olympic Torch
July 26, 2012 - As the Olympic torch made its way to London for the opening of the 2012 Olympics, Phil Crow, a sepsis survivor, was one of many nominees who were chosen to carry the torch through 1,018 communities across the United Kingdom. This moment was a particularly proud one for Phil as it wasn’t all that long ago that he didn’t know if he would live, let alone ever run again.
In July 2010, Phil underwent a usually minor surgical procedure called an ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography) because he had been suffering from gallstones. Usually, patients recover from an ERCP very quickly, but Phil developed an infection, which quickly developed into sepsis, a life-threatening illness that can occur in response to an infection.
After six weeks in an intensive care unit and seven more on a general medicine unit, Phil finally went home. But the sepsis had taken a toll on his body. He had wounds that needed healing. He had lost muscle mass and 3 stones (42 pounds) in weight. He was fatigued and found it difficult to walk. Prior to the illness, Phil had been a runner and cyclist who competed regularly at a variety of distances and disciplines. After his discharge from the hospital, he had to recover before he could even think of resuming a physically active life. It took him just six months to be fit enough to run the Lincoln 10K in one hour and four minutes.
Phil was back.
The Torch Run
Fast forward to Day 39 of the Olympic Torch Relay 2012 and Phil was as ready for his torch run as he would ever be. He wasn’t sure why he was chosen. “Me? Why? Well apparently I'm inspirational. Personally I couldn't see it and still can't but I was flattered to be asked,” he said.
His nominator felt differently. In her application, she wrote, “Phil's motivation, apart from regaining his fitness, is to raise money for Lincoln County Hospital Intensive Care Unit which saved his life, by collecting sponsorship for his sporting challenges - there are several more to come during 2011, and on into the future. Many of Phil's friends have been inspired to give to his charity, many now value life differently following Phil's experiences, and others have been inspired to join his sporting challenges, increasing their own fitness and setting themselves new personal goals. Phil's courage and determination continue to inspire his family and friends to follow his example and be the best they can be.”
As Phil’s turn came to run, he became the moment’s celebrity. “Before I knew it my torch was lit. 'Hold it up high. You now have the Olympic flame!' So I did. As high as I could. And boy, was I on a high too! I was running with the Olympic flame. Me! How cool is that? And people were waving at me. So I waved back!"
He’s still very modest about his experience. “I don't really know what I have done to deserve this,” he said. “I've seen other torch nominees and they have achieved some amazing things. Me? I'm honestly not being awkward but I really have no idea why. If it is to do with me being ill and getting back on my bike raising money for ICU then, actually, I still don't get it. I did all that because I needed to. For me. To help me get over everything that happened. I still need to run and ride. It really is now part of me and a part of me I like and enjoy in the same way I love and enjoy my family and friends. Priorities I reckon. It's all about priorities.”