Golden joy for Luke O'Dowd

AN INSPIRATIONAL teenager has taken a double swimming gold in the Junior Para National Competition in Southampton.

Luke O'Dowd, 13, who is visually impaired after surgery to remove a plum-sized brain tumour, took the spoils in the 50 and 100m freestyle and narrowly missed out on the podium in the 100m breaststroke at the English Federation of Disability Sport event.

Being the only visually impaired classification 13 athlete in his age group, O'Dowd had to achieve a personal best to claim gold, which he managed twice.

Last year a routine eye test discovered he had a plum sized brain tumour (craniopharyngioma) and hydrocephalus, crushing his optic nerve and pituitary gland. Without the valuable eye test detecting this tumour, Luke would have died due to the pressure in his brain.

After surgery to reduce the tumour and fit a shunt to relieve the pressure, Luke’s eyesight deteriorated to irreversible near blindness, along with colour blindness.

Luke’s growth had also stopped as had his ability to cope with everyday life.

This however, has not prevented him from returning to the Dorset-based Tornadoes and his love of swimming.

He continues to amaze his parents, family, doctors, teachers and all who know him.

To read on Dorset Echo website click here - Golden joy for Luke O'Dowd