BY Dan Coles
This unreal DJ lost both his arms and legs when he was 19 years old but has learnt how spin records with HOOKS in the place of his hands.
The extremely talented DJ, Tom Nash, 36, from Sydney, Australia, is one of the most eye-catching DJ’s the country has ever seen, the quadruple amputee lost both his legs and arms after being diagnosed with meningococcal septicaemia at 19 years old.
The DJ became instantly recognisable when opting for hook prosthetics on both arms and over the last 13 years has become a leading DJ down under, putting on some of the most popular events in the country and literally turning the tables on what life has thrown at him.
Tom, who now balances both public speaking and DJing continues to perform at the highest level, spinning records with his hooks, mixing, dropping beats, producing and ultimately defying the odds.
Tom said: “I felt rough when I was at university, and the next thing I knew I was in a coma.
“I was in a coma for two weeks, and when I woke up, he told me I had meningococcal septicaemia and I was in hospital for a further 18 months.
“Over that period, I lost both of my legs and both of my arms, I didn’t mind losing my legs because I knew I could cope without them but when I lost my arms it was hard because I made music.
“The hooks are what you’re started on, I didn’t know if I wanted them but after a while, I really liked the look of them, they looked pretty
“I can do things with my hooks that people with $200,000 Bionic arms can’t, I can pretty much do most things I attempt.
“It was really important that I kept my arms, I always loved music and I knew that would be taken off the cards if I lost them.
“The doctor told me I was over 18 and I could make my own decisions, so he gave me two options, the first was that my arms would be amputated, and I’d live with prosthetics.
“I told him I didn’t like that option, so he told me instead I could keep my arms and die, which just put everything into perspective.
“He had a great sense of humour and I love the guy, he showed his funny side at just the right time, I decided I wanted to live and have had the hooks ever since.
“I became obsessed with music, and what I had been through made me realise that 19-year old can die, I didn’t want to spend any more time doing anything I didn’t want to do.
“I never started out as a DJ, my best friend and I got asked to run a night at my friends club but we couldn’t afford a DJ so I just said I would do it.
“It went well, and we ended up DJ’ing the longest running club night in Sydney, it launched my entire career.”
Tom Nash is one of Australia’s most popular disk jockeys and has been working on the circuit for the last 13 years.
When he was 19 years old, he felt rotten whilst at university and found himself that evening passed out and woke up with blood all over the floor.
Tom said: “My sister took one look at me and took me straight to Hospital; it didn’t appear deadly at the time.”
What he first thought was a bad case of the flue turned out to be a diagnosis of Meningococcal septicaemia and he had to remain in hospital for18 months, he ended up having to amputate both his legs and arms.
Tom said: “I went straight into a coma for two weeks and woke up to hear the news, it’s like meningitis, and I had blood poisoning.
“I was moved to different hospitals; my legs went first and soon after my arms were gone too because the illness causes gang green.
“I went to a rehabilitation unit where I learnt to use my new prosthetics.”
Tom now sports hooks for hands and has built a hugely successful career in music, refusing to let his condition limit what he is able to achieve,
after realising music was a release for him and something that he always wanted to be involved in.
Tom said: “At the time I was studying science and psychology, which soon changed when I realised tomorrow wasn’t promised.”
Tom gets a mixture of responses to his unique look, puffing away on a cigarette being held in between his pincers he describes the response he gets from people when they see him perform.
Tom said: “It’s a gift and a curse having such a unique look, people are always amazed by what I can do, the problem is people find it hard to look past it, It’s a double-edged sword really.”
One of the issues that presents itself to Tom is how people react to him on a day to day basis, how they approach talking to him about his look
and if they don’t know how to ask the questions he knows they have.
Tom said: “I think by telling children not to point and ask, we create a culture that grows up thinking they can’t.
“The less they understand the more they fear, and the more they fear the less they understand – which spirals out of control.
“The only way to learn about things is to ask questions, if we block that impulse, we set ourselves up to misunderstand, which as a society is the opposite of what we should be aiming for.”
Tom now spends a lot of time public speaking to inform people of how he has defied what was to become of him and offers insight into dealing with the stigma around disability.
Tom said: “This whole life can be taken from you at a moment, you start to be able to see clearly and you can either wallow in self-pity or get yourself up and get over it.”