Charity to pay for Kevin's heart op after NHS axes funding

PUBLISHED: 06:55 26 June 2017

Kevin Binding, his partner Gemma Culross and Alex Demetriou, from the Axentis Michael Trust.

Kevin Binding, his partner Gemma Culross and Alex Demetriou, from the Axentis Michael Trust.

NEILPHILLIPS

A 43-year-old man whose family life was restricted by a sudden stroke will undergo sugery to repair the heart problem which caused it - after a Weston-super-Mare charity stepped in to help when the NHS would not.

Kevin Binding runs Crafty Monkeys activity centre in Weston’s Oxford Street with his partner Gemma Culross, but has spent the past three years at risk of further strokes because of a heart valve defect.

The father-of-four suffered his first stroke in 2014, but then learned the surgery needed to protect him from further attacks had been discontinued on the NHS because it was deemed too expensive.

The cost of a private procedure would be £17,000 – and although family and friends rallied round to help raise the first £5,000, they remained well short.

That is when the Axentis Michael Charitable Trust stepped in. The Weston-based trust, named after local hotelier Axentis Michael, who died in 2003, has raised more than £1million for people in need over the past decade, and has offered to foot the remainder of the bill.

That means Kevin is now due to undergo the surgery later this month at a private hospital in Bristol.

Kevin said of his stroke: “It was a real shock, because you don’t expect to suffer a stroke when you are just 40.

“I had to second guess everything I did, wondering if it would be too much. So I had to hold back from even doing simple things, like going on fairground rides with the family.

“I’d have to tell myself I had better not do anything remotely exciting, and had to step away and not join in with the family.”

But fresh hope bloomed following an unexpected phonecall.

Kevin said: “In February, I had a call from Alex at the trust, who said they were going to cover the rest of the costs I needed for my treatment.

“I couldn’t believe it. It would have taken me another three or four years, at least, to raise enough money.”

The trust’s Alex Demetriou told the Mercury: “To have had a stroke at the age of 40, and then find out that the NHS no longer funds the procedure you need, was extremely stressful for Kevin and his family.

“They had made a huge effort themselves to raise money, and we were only too pleased to be able to pay the balance so that Kevin can have the treatment as soon as possible, and get back to being an active member of his family.”

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