John’s latest challenge for sick daughter

John Evans carrying tubs on his head for C Beebies
John Evans carrying tubs on his head for C Beebies

A strongman has launched the most personal fund-raising drive of his life as his daughter battles a bug which twice put her on the brink of death.

Ilkeston grandad John Evans, 66, hopes to raise £6,000, which is the daily cost of keeping daughter Allison in a hospital intensive care unit.

Ilkeston strongman John Evans's daughter Allison Evans is suffering from pneumonia.

Ilkeston strongman John Evans's daughter Allison Evans is suffering from pneumonia.

In 20 years, he has raised more than £200,000 for charity and has gained over 30 world records for balancing weights on his head.

He launched the new effort after daughter Allison, 37, was diagnosed with pneumonia.

Shortly after being admitted to the Royal Derby Hospital, she was sent to the intensive care unit and has been there for nearly a month and has just begun to improve.

Mr Evans, of Awsworth Road, said: “We have twice received calls, waking me with the dreadful information that her life was under threat and would we come immediately to the hospital.

“She had pneumonia. I was told this is just a bug with random consequences. Some people don’t even know they have it. For others, it can be a killer.

“We rushed to the hospital to see our daughter on a life-support machine and were told she was ‘very poorly.’

“For 20 days this went on with no change. We have been told the machine is just keeping her alive and she is having antibiotics constantly but the lungs will not clear.

“We went to see the doctor again and he told us they can do no more for her and that what they have done is simply not working.

“At this time her kidneys and other organs were OK. It is just the lungs which were not responding. If the other organs start to fail, all they can do is let her die.

“These disasters can seek out anyone. This silent and unseen bug struck at my daughter and she could not easily shake it off.

“She had not been in a noisy club surrounded by people. She had not been smoking.

“She had just been enjoying an evening at home with her loved ones and it sought her out,” said Mr Evans.

On May 27, the family was again called back to the unit and Mr Evans said: “We expected her to die that night but at 1am on the 28th, her stats went back up slightly.

“I could not bear waiting any longer so I came home. This is a terrible time. You feel like vultures waiting for something to happen and so I came home.

“I wanted so badly for her to live and recover and not wait for her to die.”

On May 29, she was put on a kidney machine which drains fluid off. There was ‘no change’ in her condition, although vital signs have improved slightly in the last few days.

On the Friday, Allison was off the antibiotics and also the kidney machine. Her oxygen intake has been cut but machines are still doing all the work. The family has been told she is ‘slightly better’.

Mr Evans hopes firms will help raise funds for the 20-bed unit. He will balances objects on his head and these would then be raffled off.

He is hoping to raise at least £6,000 in the next few weeks and added: “We thank everyone at the unit for their efforts. She has had one-to-one care every minute she has been there.”