Urgent Appeal For Stricken UK Scaffolder Stranded In Sri Lanka

Scaffolder Colin Whiteside
Scaffolder Colin Whiteside

An appeal to raise £30,000 has been launched to help bring a stranded UK scaffolder with Locked-In syndrome back home from Sri Lanka.

Colin Whiteside from Bamber Bridge near Preston had been working for Hyundai, on the Cinnamon Hotel complex in the country for more than two years, before the debilitating illness struck after the father of two was bitten by a mosquito. 

The 52-year-old developed dengue fever at first, but was treated well in a private hospital. Sadly, he contracted both pneumonia and sepsis a short time afterwards. Out of the blue the hard-working family man suffered a catastrophic stroke, losing physical control over everything.

His wife Caroline told us: “You can’t move on your own. You can’t scratch an itch. And worse still, you can’t tell anyone around you that you have an itch. You can feel pain, hunger, loneliness, and fear, but you can’t react to those sensations. You are totally aware of your surroundings, but you can’t communicate your feelings or desires, or even your basic needs. The whole thing has been absolutely horrific.”

Colin’s medical insurance won’t cover treatment, so every penny he’s earned in the last 15 years to secure a future has been spent on his care. The family knows the prognosis isn’t good. It’s extremely rare for any significant motor function to return. In fact, The majority of locked-in syndrome patients do not regain motor control. However, some people with the condition continue to live much longer.

His wife added: “Any time my Colin has left we need to do everything we can to help with medical costs and possibly get him home. Without help from the British embassy or his insurance it has been left to his family and friends to do everything in our power to get him home. 

“Anyone who knows Colin will know he was a proud hard-working man who did everything he could for his family and friends but they are desperate. They need him home and any help they can get would mean the world to them and Colin.”

Of the £30,000 needed,  £17,126 has been raised so far by 356 supporters– the truth is however, much more could be required as the days pass. Caroline is having talks with both Hyundai and the construction company who have agreed to help, but there’s no more information at present. The British Embassy have said they can’t help with his insurance.

Help from both inside and outside the industry would be very welcome, to bring Colin back to his devastated family as quickly as possible.

For information on how you can donate please go to his JustGiving Page