A formerly fit and healthy father is in urgent need of a life-saving heart transplant after suddenly falling ill on a family holiday.
Christopher Rasor, 40, was struck down with a potentially lethal type of pneumonia, caused by Legionella’s disease, while away in Spain in August.
The dad-of-two is now fighting for his life after the potentially lethal lung infection exacerbated an underlying heart condition, which previously lay dormant.
He was flown back to the UK but remains in hospital with his wife Anna at his bedside.
Anna, 38, said: “I was totally shell-shocked, you just don’t expect anything like this to happen, it came totally out of the blue.
“Everything was normal in the first week of our holiday but Chris kept saying that he was tired, he was always feeling exhausted and thought he just needed rest.
“He had just come back from a business trip to Brussels and we went to Spain a week later.
“Chris was doing normal things at the beginning of the holiday but seemed to be getting more and more exhausted.”
Anna told how a week into their family holiday, Chris was rushed to Vithas Xanit hospital in Benalmedina, near Malaga, after feeling worryingly weak.
He was quickly transferred to an intensive care unit after being told he was suffering from a potentially lethal lung infection.
“I was terrified, Chris had said it wasn’t serious all along and all of a sudden he was in ICU,” said Anna.
“The health authorities in Spain said that he had come into contact with legionnaires bacteria, and that they didn’t have any recent reports of that in Spain.
“They said that a number of people were reported to have been struck down with Legionnaires in Brussels, where Chris had just come back from.”
Legionella bacteria is usually spread in water, through things such as air-conditioning, and can lie symptomless in those who contract it for up to two weeks.
Chris, who is dad to Jesse, 7, and four-year-old Emmy, was flown back to the UK on the September 18, five weeks after he was admitted to ICU in Spain,.
He remains in a critical condition in Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, suffering from dilated cardiomyopathy – a condition in which the heart is weakened and struggles to pump blood.
Despite him never suffering from any symptoms previously, he must now undergo a heart transplant to survive.
Anna has welcomed plans by Prime Minster Teresa May, announced on Wednesday, for patients to automatically opt in to organ donation.
She said: “I would have to agree with Teresa’s proposals about making organ donation automatic, but this probably should have been decided a lot sooner.
“The doctor here has said that he’s done all that he can and that Chris needs a new heart.
“If this was just a liver or a kidney, of course I would donate, but the saddest thing about this, is that somebody needs to die in order for Chris to get a heart – but they’re not going to need it when they’ve died.”
Chris is being given regular dialysis and is dependent on a machine to help him breathe, but Anna hopes that this week he will be put on a waiting list to receive a heart.
“He cycles from London to Brighton every year for the British Heart Foundation but his heart is just too weak and damaged now,” said Anna.
“The kids have been absolute troopers, they’ve been colouring in pictures of what they think the hospital like and I take them to see Chris a few times a week, they miss him like crazy.
“He can’t speak to them because he has the tool in his throat to help him breathe right now, we communicate mainly through lip-reading and an Etcha-Sketch sort of thing.”
Chris, who works as a business analyst for FedEx, will undergo a series of tests to determine whether he will be marked as “urgent” on the donor list or not.
Anna said: “I mean, he’s dependent on machines right now keeping him alive, so that must be urgent, surely.
“I can’t fault the NHS at all though, throughout this process they’ve been absolutely amazing, I really couldn’t have asked for anything more of them at all.”
Anna, who is a wedding planner, said: “My work have been so supportive, I have no idea how I would have juggled everything otherwise, these last eight weeks have been so full on.”
A fundraising page has been setup for the family and has raised £7,000 of the £10,000 they need for Chris.
The family, from Bishop’s Stortford, Herts, have organised a charity golf event at Warley Park in Brentwood on November 7, and are appealing for raffle prizes.
To support the family’s fundraising effort, visit www.gofundme.com/4f3cnqg.
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