A SCARBOROUGH man who has been left unable to work and in constant pain due to spinal problems has been given new hope thanks to friends – who are determined to raise £20,000 he needs for an operation.
They have been selling musical equipment, coin collections and other items to help raise funds for Sam Rhodes, 28, calling their campaign “Save Sam’s Spine”, and are already nearly halfway towards the target that will help rescue his life.
Sam, of Northstead, was suddenly struck down by pain two years ago.
A long series of visits to hospital in Sheffield, where he was a student, left him with a diagnosis of prolapsed cervical discs, which also affected the feeling in his arm.
He said: “Even with all the medication the pain has continued to get worse, and as a direct result I’ve now got all sorts of other problems, including a heart problem. I’ve been in and out of Scarborough Hospital on numerous occasions.”
At the end of his tether, Sam went to see a doctor at the Nuffield hospital in York. He said: “I went privately, although it was a lot of money and I couldn’t really afford it, because being in such agony and hardly able to go out or do anything left me desperate to find an answer.
“The orthopaedic surgeon diagnosed that I had numerous prolapsed discs and extreme nerve damage because of degenerative disc disease. Unless something is done, the problem is going to get worse.
“The surgeon is prepared to operate on my spine. Unfortunately it will cost £20,000. I can’t work because of my disability, so I couldn’t see how I could raise such a huge sum of money.”
But to Sam’s friends, money turned out to be no object. A Facebook group - Save Sam’s Spine – grew, and people immediately began chipping in for the cost of his care.
There is now also an eBay group, with people contributing all sorts of items to sell – from guitars and amplifiers to ammonites and coin collections.
There are also badges and a special tour of the fabulous Ginetta Cars factory.
His friend Jamie Collinson is sending traditional Palestinian scarfs back from the Middle East, and Nick Oakden will post a paper crane – a good luck symbol – from Japan to anyone who donates.
With Sam’s own savings, the fund is already approaching £10,000. He added: “It’s absolutely amazing how everyone is being so generous.”