Family launches desperate appeal to get dying great-granny home

Family launches desperate plea to get stroke-victim great-granny home

A Lancashire family are appealing for help to airlift a great-grandmother home from the Algarve back to UK “before it is too late”.
Stroke-victim Doreen Blackburn is due to be discharged from a rehabilitation centre in Tavira within the next three weeks.
“We’re desperate to get her home so that we can care for her in the way she deserves”, daughter-in-law Pamela told the Algarve Resident over the weekend.
“This has been a horrible time, as she is all needs to be with her family”.
But costs are the problem. Doreen, a former NHS nurse who moved to Areias de São João, Albufeira, almost 15 years ago, didn’t have private health insurance – largely because her premiums shot up after she recovered from cancer six years ago.
She is now far too ill to travel on a scheduled flight, and the alternative is an air-ambulance, which flies at a lower altitude than regular flights and so is easier for patients’ systems to cope with. But the flight will come to a hefty €12.000.
“We simply don’t have the money”, Pamela explained. “We have tried for various repatriation grants – and the British Vice Consulate in the Algarve has been huge help – but so far, we’re nowhere near having the money we need”.
Indeed, it’s an issue Pamela feels needs facing, for other people in the future.
“The sad thing is there are thousands of people who go abroad, have an accident, and the insurance companies won’t pay out. This isn’t an isolated case. I’ve looked online and loads of people have this problem.There are no government guidelines, no help for families at all. You have to stumble across information”.
Pamela said she planned eventually to set up a support group for other families struggling to repatriate loved ones who had moved abroad – but first the family needs to “bring back Doreen”.
The 78-year-old and her former publican husband Maurice were actually on the point of returning to Britain to live when Doreen suffered two major strokes last November.
She now cannot walk, and is paralysed down her left side. Daughter-in-law Pamela said the family have been warned that “time is running out”.
“We just need her home so we can give her care, compassion and dignity”, she said.
Thus the family has launched an online appeal:
It is a long way from raising the total sum needed, but Pamela said the family has already been “overwhelmed” by messages of support and there are now a number of people ready to organise fundraising events.
“We need to work fast, as the care home in Tavira say they cannot keep my mother in law beyond mid-March”, Pamela added.
Anyone who would like to help, in any way at all, can access the online appeal or call the family in UK on 01282 861503 or 01282 866748.
By NATASHA DONN [email protected]