Fundraiser to get Leeds' longest Covid patient home to Seacroft after 13 months in intensive care unit

A fundraiser has been launched to help bring a Leeds man who has spent more than one year in hospital after contracting Covid-19.

Thursday, 29th April 2021, 4:45 pm
Jason Kelk has been in hospital for a year after contracting Covid. Pictured with his granddaughter Felicity Wager, 5,, during the family visit to the Lincoln Wing, St James Hospital. Picture by Simon Hulme.

Jason Kelk, 39, was admitted to hospital with Covid-19 symptoms on March 31 - just one day after Derek Draper, the husband of TV presenter Kate Garraway who is understood to be the UK’s longest Covid-19 inpatient.

The virus left Jason, who is a type II diabetic with mild asthma, fighting for his life several times, and is he currently in intensive care at St James Hospital.

It severely impacted his lungs and kidneys and leaving him with such severe stomach issues, and he had to be fed intravenously.

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Jason and Sue Kelk, pictured together during one of Jason's recent trips outside St James' Hospital, where he has been an intensive care Covid patient since March.

However, in recent months, there is finally hope that Jason can return home to his wife Sue and family in Seacroft.

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Speaking to the Yorkshire Evening Post, Sue said there is no set date that Jason can return home and it could be anywhere from six weeks to a year.

That is why she has launched a fundraising campaign so that she can begin preparing the house for his return, as the house in its current state is not able to meet Jason's needs.

Sue Kelk, from Seacroft, whose husband Jason has been in intensive care with Covid since March and one of only a handful of patients to have been in that long in the UK. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe

Sue, 63, a former nurse, said: "He's improving and is off the ventilator.

"He still has his tracheostomy tube in and he will have that in for a while as one of his vocal cords is paralysed.

"When he comes home, we're going to need an extension of some sort on the back of the house, because the rooms just aren't big enough.

"We don't know if he will need a wheelchair or a zimmer frame when he first comes home, but he'd never get up to the bedrooms.

"The doctors say there's light at the end of the tunnel and he will be coming home, but they haven't discussed anything else with me or Jason.

"It could be six weeks, it could be six months.

"An extension takes time and I don't know my time frame so the quicker I am able to sort things, the quicker I can get him home."

Jason has now been off the ventilator for four weeks and on intermittent renal dialysis since February.

This means he is able to have dialysis three times a week instead of being hooked up to a 24/7 kidney filter.

In February, Jason said he was feeling positive about the future, and was excited to get home and just do normal things with his family, like eating fish and chips in front of the tv.

Speaking from his intensive care bed, he said: "Right now I feel pretty good, there’s still a lot of work needed to get me home but, when visiting restarts after lockdown, Sue and my family can come in to visit.”

“I’m looking to go home, sit on our sofa and eat take away fish and chips with Sue while we watch telly. Something normal like that.”

Jason will need a lot of medical care when he is allowed to return home to his family, and Sue wants to make sure the house is set up to make it easy for him to access that care.

Sue said: "The main thing is that we never thought this would happen.

"There were various times we were told he would never get off intensive care.

"Him coming home was at times not even an option, but that is how far he's moved forward.

"Jason has been in that hospital for 367 days now.

"I just want to be ready when we hear the words “Jason is ready to go home next week”.

"Please help me make Jason’s dream come true."

You can donate to Due's fundraiser on the GoFundMe page here.

The family hopes to raise £25,000 to renovate the house so Jason's needs can be met.