Friends and local golfers have been rallying around Jan Atack since the popular Lauro Golf member was paralysed after a hospital operation with tragic consequences.
A former squadron leader in the RAF, 53-year-old Jan went into hospital in October 2018 for what was expected to be a relatively routine operation to free a nerve in her neck. She planned to be back on the course in a couple of months, but when she came out of the operating theatre she was on a ventilator and paralysed from the chest down.
After weeks of intensive care she was transferred to the specialist spinal injuries unit in Toledo to undergo therapy, accompanied by her husband Keith, who has been staying locally to be with her every day. Even though Jan is now off the ventilator, she is still quadriplegic, her condition remains largely unchanged and, after she is discharged towards the end of June, she is not expected to regain any further significant improvements in her physical mobility.
The latest fund-raiser for the recently established Jan Atack Appeal Fund was a charity day at her home club in Alhaurín de la Torre on the Costa del Sol, organised by Janet Cox, who met Jan - last year’s captain of Los Cantarranas (The Singing Frogs) - eight years ago and is a fellow member at Lauro Golf. A total of 76 players in teams of four competed in the two-tee stableford event, with the two best scores on each hole counting. One half of the golfers played Lauro’s 1-18 course while the rest played 10-27, and the winning team scores were 83 points and 86 points, respectively – lower than expected, according to the organisers, but not too bad given the extremely windy conditions.
Janet has previously organised similar events in aid of animal charities. “This year, she said, “I felt compelled to help Jan and Keith in the only way I knew how. I cannot imagine what it must be like for them at the moment. Their story has touched people’s hearts.”
Golf, raffle and silent auction prizes were all donated and the total amount raised (€2,585) will go into the appeal fund that is being overseen by a committee made up of Lauro members, and will be used to purchase specialised equipment and care services to help Jan rebuild her life when she returns home from hospital.
Main image: Jan Atack (after her ill-fated operation and now in a wheelchair and quadriplegic) with her great friend Karen.
Second from top: Jan Atack (before her operation) - leading the team that beat the men in Los Cantarranas' annual competition.
Second from bottom: Golfers finishing on Lauro's 18th tee during the charity tournament.
Bottom: Charity event organiser Janet Cox.