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Can the Internet and a Thousand Random Acts of Kindness Save Jimmy Thoronka?

10/03/2015 14:47 GMT | Updated 10/05/2015 10:59 BST

Jimmy Thoronka isn't your everyday 20-year-old, he is one of Africa's most talented young sprinters with an incredibly bright future. He competed in last year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow for Sierra Leone but since then he has been living rough in London.

Jimmy's life couldn't be more different to mine. I'm 28 and live in East London. I've never met Jimmy before in my life. But there was something about his story that made we want to act.

Just consider it: lost his birth family during a civil war, grew to become one of Africa's most promising sprinters competing in the Commonwealth Games, soon after which he finds out that back home his adopted family have died from Ebola. Up to now he's been homeless in London, riding on buses to get some warmth, training in parks whilst rarely getting any food or being able to clean himself.

I found the journalist's number, called it, and said I wanted to get involved. A couple hours later I was at Waterloo to meet Diane Taylor, the journalist, and Jimmy himself. Within five minutes of us waiting for him we were told that the police had picked Jimmy up.

That's when I started the Change.org petition calling for our Government to give Jimmy a chance. Now 60,000 people have signed it. Meanwhile another stranger set up a crowdfunder and has already raised £20,000 to help Jimmy's athletics career.

And dozens of other offers to help have flooded in - random acts of kindness from thousands of people who have come together online to help a stranger with an exceptional talent.

Jimmy's adopted family saved him after the civil war, we as a society need to do the same, we need to take him in and give him another shot at life. Jimmy said in an interview this morning that he hopes to be able to stay in the UK and fight for him dream "to become the fastest sprinter in the world". We have a tradition in Britain of caring for people all around the world and the response to Jimmy's story shows British compassion at its best.

All we need now is Theresa May to join the public and do another random act of kindness: let Jimmy stay.

For more information, or to sign the Change.org petition, click here