Paul McNulty’s worst fear is that he may have to say a heartbreaking farewell to his ill mum without the support of his wife and daughter – currently living in Ethiopia – more than 5,000 miles away.
The dad-of-one, 61, from Spendmore Lane, Coppull has set up a petition in the hope of obtaining an emergency visa for his wife Saba and daughter Margaret to say a final goodbye.
He said: "I am begging the Home Office to grant my Ethiopian wife and daughter an emergency visa to come to the UK to be able to spend some time with mum during her final days.”
His 82-year-old mother Margaret has been diagnosed with a rare medical condition known as Gastric Antral Vascular Ectasia (GAVE) in which the lining of the stomach bleeds.
Although it can develop in men and women of all ages, watermelon stomach is most commonly observed in older women over 70.
She also has dementia and is therefore not fully aware of her condition and has been placed in Beeches Care Home, where medical experts have predicted she has limited time left.
He said: "My mum has recently been placed on end of life care, with a DNAR order in place as the medical professionals have no permanent long-term solution to her condition.
"We have been told she only has between two to 12 weeks left. We are now in the second week."
"There is no long-term fix."
Paul, who operates a consultancy business, said: "It's extremely hard for me trying to shield my dad Bill who is 84 and support him and mum.
"It's killing my wife that she can't be with us.
"For the last two years, mum has been to the hospital twice per week for blood tests and the second day being for blood transfusions, up to two units per week, just to maintain her blood levels.
"She has had numerous gastroscopies, endoscopies and hospital admissions and the prescribed medication has only created additional issues, restricting her ability to live a normal life.
"She gets fuzzy headed, losses her appetite and then spends the whole time in bed."
Paul, who has an online consultancy business, has not seen his wife of 11 years in person for over two years as it was easier for him to get a UK job.
He met his wife in 2008 when he was working for an international American company as a regional sales manager, literally bumping into her in a supermarket in Dubai, knocking a bottle of vimto out of her hand, which broke, splashing her dress and shoes.
"I offered to pay for the cleaning and to take her out for a meal,” said Paul. “That was the start of our relationship.
“We have been apart for 19 months, reason being because we didn’t qualify under the immigration rules (earning £18,600 per year) to have my wife live with me in the UK and also the Covid restrictions.
"The problem with the Home Office is there is no grey just black and white.
"The normal application process would potentially take too long, as we are already seeing the early signs of mum's deterioration. She is dying.
"Based on what I saw when visiting mum yesterday, and what we have seen over the last two years, I do not believe that mum has six weeks to wait for the visa processing.
"There is no guarantee that the Home Office would even grant a visa, as two previous applications were rejected on the grounds of ‘we do not believe that your wife would return to Ethiopia at the end of her visa period’.
"How can I provide that guarantee?
"The validity of our relationship has never been questioned by the Home Office, during which time we have spent less than half that time together, in the main due to the inhumane, discriminatory and biased immigration rules and requirements for the dependents of UK citizens."
Adding her frustration with the process, Paul's wife Saba said: "I wish I could be there for my family, so I could offer my support and love to both my husband and my mother in law."
Paul added: “If there is anything good which could possibly come out of this tragic situation, it is that I would get the chance to spend some time with my wife and daughter, be it only for a limited time.
The Home Office said that people applying for visas should do so but make clear any special circumstances and request that their application is prioritised.
This can include submitting medical records or evidence to further support the application – and that applicants should request that their application is expedited on compassionate grounds.
A Home Office spokesman said: “We recognise there are times when people need to come to the UK under exceptional circumstances.
“In these types of situation people should apply for a visa in the normal way, but outline the compassionate circumstances surrounding their application and request that their application is prioritised as a result.
“We’ll always endeavour to help people in challenging circumstances, whilst ensuring their entry is in keeping with the UK’s immigration rules.”
If you would like to sign the petition, CLICK HERE.