DAYS ago they were total strangers, but one man’s unbelievable generosity has now helped prolong a South Tyneside father’s life.
For the first time yesterday, terminally-ill Glen Cunningham, who has 10 brain tumours, met Kenny Vickers at his home in Harton, South Shields.
Mr Vickers arrived carrying a cheque worth £33,500, which will be used to buy his new friend the wonder drug – Avastin – and could help the 29-year-old spend more time with his children Lauren, seven and Glen Jnr, 10 months. The pair became known to each other, after Mr Vickers, from the Isle of Skye, read about Mr Cunningham’s plight in Monday’s Gazette, when we revealed how loved ones were trying to raise cash, after health bosses at South Tyneside Primary Care Trust refused to fund the drug, as they weren’t convinced it would work.
Mr Cunningham and his partner, Yasmin Malik, were nervous before Mr Vickers, who also has a home in Cleadon Park, South Shields, arrived.
Miss Malik, 26, said: “We were quite anxious before Kenny turned up. It’s such an amazing thing to do, we still just couldn’t believe, one person, a total stranger, would help us out like this. But once he’d arrived and had a cup of tea, everything was fine, and we’ve been getting along fine.”
Selfless Mr Vickers, 34, who owns a number of properties, has been suffering his own heartache while helping out others.
The father-of-seven’s youngest child, Preston, was born 14 weeks prematurely, weighing just 1lb 11.5ozs. On Thursday, the 10-week-old, who has suffered from a variety of health problems, had hernia surgery at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.
He said: “The surgery went well, so we’re all just keeping our fingers crossed at the moment.
“Glen’s story touched me in a way that nobody could know, that’s why I had to help out. I’ve never done anything like this before, for a total stranger. It has been quite odd because lots of people have been coming up to me in the shops to say well done, they’ve all been very supportive.
“But I’ve told Glen, that if he needs anything, all he has to do is give me a ring.”
Mr Cunningham had bought a present for baby Preston, and flowers for Mr Vickers, who’s married to Melody, 33. And he now hopes the Avastin injections can start imminently.
He said: “The consultant knows we now have the cash to start treatment, so I just hope I can start them right away. The sooner the better really.
“Obviously, we can’t thank Kenny enough for what he’s done. Words just can’t describe how much this means.
“I will definitely be staying in touch with him.”