More than £24,000 has been raised to bring home a former police officer who had a life-threatening stroke abroad just days before Christmas.
Kenny Young, 58 who lives in Spain with his wife Lorraine had a stroke on December 23, as a result of a blood clot in his brain, and went on to suffer from pneumonia.
His son Reeve was alerted to the news after mum Lorraine, 60, and sister Sean, 28, found him on his bedroom floor at their home in the Mediterranean town of Jávea.
Reeve, a tattoo artist who lives in Edinburgh, flew from the Scots capital the same day with his partner Amy Johnson to be with his father and distraught mother and sister.
With the costs of keeping his father in a foreign hospital, the family decided to appeal for help to raise the funds needed to transfer Kenny back to Scotland.
Now more than £24,000 has been raised to bring Kenny home.
Reeve, 34, has expressed his family’s ‘humbled’ gratitude at public donations to help fly him home.
The former corporal in the Royal Scots, said: “My mum and dad have lived in Spain for two years and my little sister went out there to spend Christmas with them.
“The day before Christmas Eve, they found my dad slumped on the floor beside his bed.
“He had suffered a stroke after a large to medium-sized blood clot on the brain.”
Reeve’s sister called the emergency services and Kenny was rushed to hospital.
Sean and Lorraine followed the ambulance all the way to Alicante – more than an hour’s drive away.
Kenny, originally from Edinburgh, also has Lupus – an inflammatory disease that occurs when your body’s immune system attacks your own tissues and organs.
Reeve said: “At this time my sister got in touch and we dropped everything to find the quickest flight out there so we could be with my dad.”
Reeve and restaurant manager Amy, 28, spent £1,200 on a last-minute one-way flight to Alicante to be with his ill father.
The pair flew out from Edinburgh the same day Kenny was taken to hospital and arrived the next day on Christmas Eve after a layover in Barcelona and twelve hours of travelling.
Discussing his father’s condition, Reeve said: “He’s still in hospital, but thankfully he’s out the intensive care unit (ICU) and in a general ward just now.
“There’s a lot of pressure on my mum and sister as he didn’t have any health insurance cover, unfortunately.
“This is the first time this sort of thing has happened, it was completely out the blue.”
Reeve said the family have found quotes for an air ambulance which costs £26,000 and a road ambulance costing £15,000.
Reeve said: “The costs and the language barrier in the hospital are becoming a problem, as none of us speaks Spanish and it’s around £500 to £700 per night.
“Myself and my mother went to visit my dad one day, then my sister and partner came up with the idea and made the Go Fund Me page.
“They found quotes for air ambulance and by road ambulance.
“We’re a proud family and the more we spoke about it, it seemed like the only option.
“We needed the funds and realised we couldn’t let pride get in the way of something so important like this.”
Discussing the public reaction after the family reached out for help, Reeve said: “The response has been unbelievable.
“My mum went from emotional tears to tears of gratitude to the public, it’s really humbling.
“Even if we didn’t reach the target it would’ve massively helped with the medical costs which are heaping a lot of pressure on my family, especially my mum.
“We’ve had donations from friends back home and places like Austria, Hong Kong, Australia, Italy and America.”
“I didn’t at all expect this, €26,000 is an absolutely massive amount of money and a huge achievement to have been raised in such a short space of time.
“My jaw was open the whole time seeing the money raised.
“Everyone donating in that short space of time, especially right after Christmas at a financially tight time of year, it’s been absolutely amazing.
“It’s very humbling to see everyone’s generosity.”
As a result of the stroke, Kenny had a hole in a heart valve which is causing a leak and his family are concerned he could suffer a heart attack or another stroke.
Reeve says his father, who is a former policeman, is in a “stable” condition.
He said: “My dad’s slowly progressing but we’re still anxious to get him home as best we can, he still needs an operation on his heart.
“It’s important to get him home around his family where there’s a larger support network around him.
“He has said a couple of words but he’s not been able to string sentences together.
“We’re playing his favourite music to him like Stevie Wonder and Hue and Cry.
“He knows what’s going on and can give a thumbs up and he’s been smiling at us.”
Reeve, who flew home after Christmas to visit his young daughter and take care of work commitments, said he will return to Spain next week.
He said: “We will hopefully try and get the air ambulance – that’s our main focus.
“We’ll fly him as soon as we get the money in the bank and get organised.
“The funding page has introduced a very positive attitude among the family in terms of how amazing people have been.”
by Paul Rodger
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