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Last Updated: Wednesday, 12 March 2008, 11:26 GMT
Family want brain damage son home
Rhys Thomas (right) with his father, Grahame, and brother Gareth
Rhys, 16, (right) is back in hospital with an infection
The father of a 16-year-old boy who is severely disabled after choking on chewing gum in bed says he wants him to live at home again.

Rhys Thomas, of Holywell, Flintshire, has been blind and unable to move or speak since his parents found him unconscious last October.

He is now living at a Colwyn Bay care home for people with brain injuries.

A concert at Rhyl's Pavilion Theatre next month aims to raise funds for the equipment needed for Rhys to move.

The teenager spent time on a life-support machine at Glan Clwyd Hospital in Bodelwyddan, after his parents Grahame and Trish found he had stopped breathing.

He had been chewing gum before he went to bed and it lodged in his windpipe. The teenager suffered a heart attack thought to have been caused by lack of oxygen.

Our intention is that, when we're geared up at home here, that we have him home to live with us and he attend day therapy
Grahame Thomas, Rhys's father

Rhys, who is fed through tubes in his stomach, was discharged in January to a Leonard Cheshire care home but was readmitted to hospital two weeks ago after catching an infection.

Mr Thomas, 52, who teaches at the autistic centre at Kinsale Hall, Mostyn, said: "Each day doesn't get any easier.

"For the last two weeks of him being unwell, we just expected the worst.

"And last weekend, a week ago, we didn't expect him to survive the weekend. That's what we're dealing with."

Mr Thomas, a lay preacher, said Rhys - a pupil at Ysgol Glan Clwyd, St Asaph, who excelled at squash and rugby - had been admitted on Glan Clwyd's children's ward.

He added: "It was our intention that he come home for Easter, just for a couple of hours, but that's not possible at the moment.

Poster for the concert in aid of Rhys Thomas
The Rhyl Pavilion concert is to raise funds for Rhys to move home

"Our intention is that, when we're geared up at home here, that we have him home to live with us and he attend day therapy.

"He would be out in the day, as he would be if he was still at school. We feel that would be the best."

Mr Thomas said his son was taken ill the night before his own mother's funeral.

"It made things very, very difficult, particularly as I couldn't tell people on the morning of the funeral what had happened to Rhys, because I didn't want the funeral cancelled and events to distract from my mother's funeral, " he said.

The concert on Saturday 5 April includes Trelawnyd Male Voice Choir, the North Wales Rugby Choir and comedian Ffarmwr Fowc.

It will be hosted by Rhys Jones, the father of singer Caryl Parri Jones, who is also holding a cabaret evening in aid of Rhys at the Graig Park Hotel and Country Club towards the end of April.

Boy critical after choking on gum
10 Oct 07 |  North East Wales

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