Tesco trolley worker Colin Wadsworth’s life was saved by emergency bowel surgery after he fell seriously ill in October.
Now his family, who were told to prepare for the worst, is looking forward to giving him a truly special 50th birthday celebration this Saturday.
His sister Rachel Hillhouse posted on the Leyland Memories facebook page to let customers at the town’s Tesco – which disabled Colin joined when it opened in 2002 – know he was unwell.
She told the Guardian: “I never expected the reaction we have had from all over the world wishing him a speedy recovery.
“I’ve never seen as many shares and reactions and comments ever – it just proves how loved he is.”
She added: “The power of prayer is immense and me and his family are super proud of all the messages telling us how valued he is – a true unsung hero to many of the people of Leyland. His colleagues at Tesco sent him a lovely parcel of smellies and slippers and nightwear which hopefully now he will be able to make use off.
“All the staff at Royal Preston Hospital have been truly amazing, I won’t hear a bad word about the NHS, they saved by brother’s life and his family will be forever grateful for that.”
At an early age, Colin was diagnosed with learning disabilities that, as he matured, caused many physical and mental health issues.
He has had multiple surgeries on his knees and ankles caused by a curvature of the spine and a road accident in the early 1980s. And an accident with a bus in the early 1980s resulted in him being dragged along the road for some distance until the driver realised he was under the vehicle.Rachel added: “Colin is a very conscientious worker and is known for walking to the other side of the car park to collect one trolley.
“He also supports the more mature generation and those with disability needs to either get them a trolley so they can walk safely from their car using the trolley as a support aid or he kindly offers to sort out the mobility scooter for anyone that requires this.”
Colin, who is married to Eileen, currently works part-time.
Rachel said he “loves Tesco”.
“He tells me that customers complain if he is not working as there are trolleys everywhere over the car park, he takes pride in his work and is an asset to the local community that he serves,” she said.
The family has set up a Crowdfunding page to support his rehab. It has a target of £200 but already reached £260.