*A Huntingdon carer who was given a 50/50 chance of surviving coronavirus wants to walk five miles in aid of charity after battling the disease which has taken “a big chunk of his life”.
Mark Stocks, 47, was admitted to Hinchingbrooke Hospital on May 9 where he was rushed to intensive care.
His family were told he may not make it through the night.
Just days before he had still been at work for the NHS and wasn’t showing any alarming symptoms other than feeling drained and having a slight cough.
He had even tested negative for the virus on May 6.
“I was a fit, healthy, working man who was not in the high-risk zone,” Mark explained.
“It was only when I called 111 on the Friday night (May 8) that they said they were sending paramedics round and I had a temperature of 39.8C - that was when I thought ‘oh no have I got this?’
“My family were told I may not make it through the night – but I did.”
Mark was in intensive care for around five days, and it wasn’t until May 20 he was released after being off oxygen for 24 hours at that point.
But things began to deteriorate and he was re-admitted to hospital again just over six weeks later on July 5 after perforating his lung following a coughing fit.
“They put a drain on me to drain off the fluid, I was then told my right lung had pneumonia, my left lung had perforated and collapsed, it had an ulcer and a blood clot in it,” he said.
“I then got transferred to Papworth Hospital where they removed half of my left lung during an operation.”
Medics were also concerned about Mark’s heart when it dropped to 29 bpm and then erratically jumped to more than 100. He was then diagnosed with ectopic beats.
But despite his battle, Mark now wants to make the most of his life after so many others weren’t as lucky to survive.
He said: “I want to do this walk to raise awareness if we do have a second wave of this.
“And I also want those who lost their lives to this horrendous disease to be remembered in some way.
“I have been so lucky to survive this, I want to do something in memory of those who weren’t as lucky as me.
“And I promise to make the rest of my life worth it.”
Mark was initially having carers in to look after him and regular visits from close friends.
Daily tasks have become so much harder for him too, as he suffers with breathlessness, memory loss and may not get back to work for 18 months.
He is using a scooter to get him to and from town.
“In one respect it has made my own job role look a bit different now, because I have worked in care all my life, but you see it differently when you’re on the other side,” he said.
“The virus has taken a big chunk of my life. But this walk will also help with my rehabilitation.
“It would be amazing if other people would like to join me on the walk or offer their help with this fundraising.”
Mark warned that his symptoms of coronavirus didn’t appear straight away either.
“I want to get across to people that I did not feel that poorly to begin with,” he added.
“I thought the cough was from wearing a face mask for work and maybe that was irritating, other than that, I felt a bit drained and like there was a weight on me.”
The picture he has shared with The Hunts Post he says he took during one of his lowest moments in hospital to remind him he would never be going back there.
Mark plans to take part in the walk on Bank Holiday Monday (August 31) with the help of his friend Dean Burrows.
He will be raising money for Hinchingbrooke Hospital and a remembrance plaque will also be placed somewhere at a later date.
They will have charity buckets and aim to start at St Ives, looping around Houghton then heading to Huntingdon before finishing up at the hospital.
To donate visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/marks-hinchingbrooke-hospital-walk and follow The Hunts Post in the coming weeks.