Family’s thanks to lifesavers

Pictured from left: Clair Watson, Kevin Gray, Debbie Tomkinson, Mark Jones, Staff Nurse Andrew Henson, Michelle Handy, Sister Sian Ivers, Linda Gray, Kathy Ancell and Dr Randall.

Pictured from left: Clair Watson, Kevin Gray, Debbie Tomkinson, Mark Jones, Staff Nurse Andrew Henson, Michelle Handy, Sister Sian Ivers, Linda Gray, Kathy Ancell and Dr Randall.

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The family of a Blackpool worker who contracted meningitis has handed a donation to the intensive care unit where he was treated.

Jacob Gray, 21, a switchboard operator at Blackpool company Balfour Beatty Workplace, was taken ill in January with the disease and was treated on the unit (ICU) at Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

He had a less than 10 per cent chance of surviving but is making a good recovery and is now being treated in Preston.

Jacob’s parents, Linda and Kevin, visited the unit to present the hospital’s trust charity Blue Skies Hospitals Fund with £500, along with representatives from Balfour Beatty who donated £1,000 for the ICU.

Linda Gray, Jacob’s mum, said: “Jacob is such a character and has so much about him for someone of his age.

“The disease attacks you and your life; it completely shuts your body down.

“Jacob has lost seven stone in two-and-a-half months. He’s also just had his toes and the soles of his feet removed because of septicaemia.

“The doctors think with a lot of physio he should be able to hopefully run in a year.

“I can’t thank the ICU enough. They put all their efforts into keeping him alive.

“We couldn’t have wished for better than here. It’s such a special atmosphere at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, it’s like they are treating one of their family.”

Jacob’s colleagues raised the cash through a charity night at the Wainwright Club on Hornby Road.

Michelle Handy, from Balfour Beatty, said: “We had a really good turn-out from employees and lots of people also donated prizes for the evening. Jacob is a well respected member of staff and even though he hasn’t been with us that long, he’s fitted in as part of the gang.

“We wanted to raise money for the local unit which supported him so well.

“We hope Jacob gets well soon and we’d like to thank our staff for all their support. We have 80 staff members so we were really pleased to raise £1,000 for charity.”

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‘Money will directly benefit patients’

Staff at Blackpool Victoria Hospital say the cash will be used to benefit patients who are treated in the intensive care unit.

Head of fund-raising, Kathy Ancell, said: “Thank you to all the staff who work for Balfour Beatty and to the Gray family.

The money will be used to directly benefit future patients who are taken in to the intensive care unit.

“We hope Jacob continues to get better.”

The Blue Skies Hospitals Fund is Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Charitable Fund. Its mission is to enhance patient care by supporting areas that are not covered or fully supported by central NHS funds.

A current project is The Pinpoint Prostate Cancer Appeal which is raising funds to purchase specialist equipment, which will detect sites of prostate cancer.

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