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A 66-year-old who spent more than two weeks in the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) fighting COVID has raised £2,200 for the hospital by completing a 20-mile charity walk.  

Gerry Gilroy, from Old Kilpatrick, was so ill from the virus he had to be rushed to hospital in an ambulance and spent the next five days in the High Dependency Unit, with his chances of recovery being put at 50/50.

Seven months on, although still not 100% back to normal, Gerry recovered enough to undertake a 20 mile section of the West Highland Way and has even been able to visit the hospital again, this time to thank the staff who helped save his life. 

Commenting, Gerry said: “If it wasn’t for the staff at the QEUH I wouldn’t be here. The care they have given me was incredible. Every member of staff I encountered – the cleaners, porters, auxiliary staff, nurses, doctors – were amazing and I can’t thank them enough. 

“The charity walk is a small token of my appreciation for their hard work which has saved my life alongside so many others.

“I’d like to thank everyone for their donations and support and a special mention goes to my good friend John Fanning who joined me on the walk alongside my sister Frances and her friend Rosemary.”

In addition to High Dependency Unit, Gerry spent more than a week in what was then COVID Ward 5C. Before his discharge from hospital he also received specialist physio support to help him regain mobility.

Following his discharge, Gerry continued his rehabilitation at home, walking further distances each day until he was fit enough to take on the challenge which took him six hours in total.

Senior Charge nurse on ward 5C, Karen Paton, said:

“From all the team we’d like to thank Gerry for his fundraising efforts and we wish him well. Staff have been working tirelessly to respond to the pandemic over the past 17 months, and gestures like this mean a great deal. It’s inspiring to see Gerry successfully undertake such a long-distance walk, given how badly he was suffering from COVID when he arrived at the hospital.”

On the impact of COVID on his life, Gerry urged the public to come forward for their vaccinations. Gerry said:

“When you get the opportunity to get your jag, make sure you go. For yourself, and for the people around you. COVID is a horrible, vicious virus and the vaccine helps protect us all. I nearly died and I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through that so please get vaccinated and follow the rules from the government.” 

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