22 May 2024, 13:28
By Furniture News May 02, 2024

Tony Pearson – inspiring others in recovery

In 2022, an accident at his home left Tony Pearson, director of sales at home delivery specialist BJS Distribution, paralysed from the neck down. In an inspiring and humbling journey since, he has fought to recover – and is now looking to share his experiences with others facing adversity …

What’s your industry background?

I worked for 12 years for B&Q as a retail manager, then joined an HGV driving agency, via a franchise, in 2002. I went on to manage my own courier and home delivery business, running six vans, before co-founding BJS Home Delivery in 2009, and taking on the role of sales director.

Describe what happened to you in April 2022 …

On April 8th I fell down the stairs at home, and was left paralysed from the neck down, due to blood clots in my lungs and heart which I wasn’t aware of.

What were your initial feelings about your prospects?

As soon as I came out of the three-week induced coma, I suffered two cardiac arrests, followed by other complications, so it was a few weeks before I could assess myself.

I never looked back and asked “why me?” – I just got on the road to rehab, with my wife’s help. Taking positive steps, and with everyone’s positive thoughts and support, I just knew that, slowly but surely, I’d start to get some movement back in my upper body.

How did the business react?

They were amazing. Everyone was very supportive, and visited me many times during my nine-month stay in hospital.

Can you outline the key moments in your rehabilitation?

There are too many to mention, to be honest, but here are some of the stand-out moments: breathing on my own; talking without a voice box; eating and drinking without tubes; getting some movement in my arms; and feeding myself.

Has your experience shaped how BJS handles staff health and welfare more broadly?

We’ve always made the welfare of our people a priority, but I that believe what happened to me taught us all how precious life is. Business isn’t just about making profit – it’s about looking after our employees, suppliers and the local community.

What made you decide to document your experience on social media?

I wanted something positive to come out of a very negative situation. If, by sharing my story, I could help people stop and think about their own health, both physically and mentally, then I felt I should do so.

What sort of reactions have you had from the trade?

Amazing – people from the furniture and transport industry have been very supportive, and as my story has been shared further afield, I’ve received positive feedback from people in various industries around the world.

What’s your next target in the recovery process?

To eat and drink totally independently, and to lose weight and get myself fitter, both physically and mentally.

What advice do you have for others encountering adversity?

It’s a very slow journey, but very rewarding at the same time. Look for support from associations, social media, friends and colleagues.

In January, I founded a side business as a motivational speaker, and I’m setting up a website, Fliqer, which will eventually be a one-stop portal to help people to create a better version of themselves. Their issue doesn’t have to be medical – it could be, for instance, that they’re looking for a promotion at work. Hopefully my experiences can be of help to many others.

Read more stories of staff care and welfare in May's issue, and find out more about Tony’s experience on LinkedIn.


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