A dad who nearly lost his life after contracting COVID-19 has completed a 24-hour gaming marathon to raise money for a local hospital’s intensive care garden as a way of expressing his gratitude to the NHS workers who saved his life.
Dave Gaulter from Guisborough spent over nine weeks in The James Cook University Hospital after being admitted on 26 March 2020.
The secondary school teacher was placed in an induced coma for three weeks after his organs started to fail before being transferred to the high dependency unit with a tracheostomy for a further five weeks.
During that time Dave’s wife and six-year-old daughter were unable to see him in person on the ward due to restricted visiting because of the pandemic.
“Being in a hospital bed, no matter how well you are looked after, is difficult because all you want is the love and comfort of those closest to you,” said Dave.
“I was desperate to see my wife and my daughter because when you are in such a critical and potentially life threatening situation you are never really sure if you will make it out the other end alive or not.”
Over a year later Dave is feeling better, has returned to work and recently decided to raise money for the Middlesbrough hospital’s intensive care garden appeal so that families with loved ones in the intensive care unit (ICU) have a private space to spend precious time together.
“The staff who helped me on my journey will remain forever my heroes. It is because of this deep seated feeling that I decided to raise funds to go towards the ICU garden.”
Along with his friends, Dave spent 24 hours non-stop gaming and raised nearly £1,500.
His wife Emma Gaulter, who works at James Cook, said: “After seven very long weeks the lovely staff arranged for me to meet Dave outside the hospital.
“It was one of the most memorable moments of our lives and a real boost and turning point for Dave and his recovery. Although magical, it was at one of the hospital’s main entrance where ambulances were screeching in and out and not especially built for purpose.
“We can tell you from our personal experience that the new ICU garden is a worthwhile cause and will make a huge difference to all those who need it.”
The intensive care garden at James Cook will be a quiet, private area for patients, their families and staff.
Work has begun to renovate one of the outdoor spaces near the hospital’s main atrium. If you would like to donate to the ICU garden you can do so via the Our Hospitals Charity GoFundMe page – www.justgiving.com/campaign/ICUGarden or you can phone the team on 01642 854160.