Friend raises £25,000 for army veteran after life changing seizure

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A dad-of-two who suffered a brain haemorrhage has had over £25,000 raised by a kindhearted friend to help his young family.

Chris Hyland, 38, has recently returned home after spending over a year in multiple hospitals. The veteran who served as a sniper in multiple tours of Afghanistan was rushed into hospital after a bleed in the brain two days before Christmas in 2019.

The Liverpool-born electrician collapsed and started to seizure as his partner, Claire, was on the phone to the ambulance in their home in Watford.

Following two months in the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, Chris moved to Woolton where his parents live to attend rehab at Redford Court during the pandemic.

After multiple drainages and surgeries, he is now on the mend but still has little to no short-term memory, making life tough on his partner, Claire Bullot.

Whilst Chris has been receiving treatment, Claire has looked after their two children, five-year-old Grace and two-year-old Jake.

Claire said: “He is way off able to do any work again. He is having therapy down here still and will be for quite a long time. It’s just very hard work. Having to look after two children and Chris who has a memory of between 15 seconds to a day is really hard work.

“He’s got to have open brain surgery where they remove part of the skull to go into the brain to remove the ADM and that’s going to be in January.”

With Chris not being able to work and Claire working a total of four months through the coronavirus pandemic, Chris’s close friend Andrew Holcroft set up a GoFundMe last year to help raise money for the couple.

The GoFundMe page managed to get £700 short of the £25,000. With people from all over the world donating, a group of soldiers from the RAF have taken it upon themselves to raise the remainder of the £25,000.

Andrew, who served alongside Chris in the army, praised the serving soldiers who have helped raise money for Chris: “It’s a testament to the regiment the way they are looking out for their own, word of mouth and the type of lad Chris is shows what sort of lads these are.

“I don’t know these lads either and they just messaged me out the blue saying they wanted to do something to try and get Chris over my target of £25,000 and they’ve gone over that now.

“They just want to push it as far as they can, and Chris’s story has touched them. It’s brilliant and they seem like a quality bunch of people.”

Andrew spoke about the dangers they put themselves through whilst serving: “We did our first seven month tour out in Afghanistan, protecting camp Bastion, protecting the flight path for planes to come in and out. We did a lot on the emergency medical response team, just flying in with five minutes notice to move, picking up casualties.

“We’d get them on the helicopter, treat them, pack wounds, get blood into them and fly them back to Bastion and then hand them over to the hospital. Our main role on there was the protection of the helicopter when it landed. Sometimes you’d land in a firefight.”

Now, Andrew is helping his friend get through one of the biggest fights of his life.

About Ben Roberts-Haslam, JMU Journalism