Karen Brown, 57, is raising money to pay for her 59-year-old brother Ronnie Lord’s medical tests and treatments – in the hope that he is then fit enough to fly home.
The mother-of-two, who works part-time in Thorougoods on Hayhurst Street in Clitheroe, only found out that her brother was so ill last week after his wife sent her a photo of a thin and weary Ronnie.
“Ronnie went to the Philippines about 15 years ago,” explained Karen, “and we’ve always kept in touch via Messenger with phone calls at Christmas and on birthdays.
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“He got in touch last year and casually mentioned that he had a sore throat, but on Tuesday last week, I woke up to that awful photo of him. His wife had sent it – as a cry for help I think – as they hadn’t wanted to worry friends and family before, but have run out of money to pay for any more treatment.”
Following the news, Karen, who also has two grandchildren, became upset while at work and was comforted by her friend, local resident Zena Altham.
Zena’s daughter-in-law Alana subsequently set up a Justgiving page on behalf of Karen to raise funds for Ronnie and Zena’s husband Derek is donating any money in lieu of presents which he receives at his 75th birthday party at Ribblesdale Wanderers to Ronnie. “I’ve been overwhelmed by people’s kindness and generosity,” said Karen, who has been sending Ronnie money from her wages to pay for him to see a doctor as well as buy painkillers, bacterial mouthwash and food supplements.
So far the Justgiving page has raised more than Â£1,800 for father-of-one Ronnie who was born and raised in Longridge and worked at Goss’s Preston most of his life after leaving school.
His former colleagues at Goss’s are now doing all they can to raise funds to help Ronnie whose doctor in the Philippines has identified tumours in his mouth and throat which have been preventing Ronnie from eating or swallowing properly – hence his drastic weight loss.
“It was beyond our wildest dreams that we would raise more than a thousand pounds so quickly,” said Karen.
“But at least Ronnie now knows that he can afford to pay for a biopsy and CT scans and find out what type of cancer it is.”
Karen and her family have contacted the British Consulate, the British Embassy and the Home office, whose representatives are providing advice. They are ultimately hoping to get Ronnie well enough to fly him home for further treatment.
To make a donation to help Ronnie get well visit: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ronnielord