Courageous delivery driver who lost his leg after contracting sepsis sends heartfelt message of thanks to Ribble Valley people who helped to raise almost £45,000
A popular and well known delivery driver, who almost died when he was struck down with sepsis last year, has thanked people in the Ribble Valley who rallied to help raise almost £45,000 to help him and his family.
Dave Cram, who is affectionately known as 'DPD Dave' had to have his leg amputated after falling seriously ill in January last year. And while he was fighting for his life in hospital, hundreds of people in the Ribble Valley were among those in Lancashire doing their bit to help with donations and fund raising events.
Dave is a big part of the community, particularly the Whalley, Hurst Green, Stonyhurst, Barrow, Sabden and Billington areas, with his ready smile and willlingness to go out of his way to deliver a parcel for someone, taking it to their workplace if they weren't at home.
And when news of his illness started to spread residents came forward with offers of help, arranging collections and organising events, including a family day, Doing It For Dave, organised jointly by Keystreet in Clitheroe and local band, Stereo Retrovibe.
Even chart topping star Olly Murs backed the fund raising campaign, making a generous donation himself and tweeting an appeal for people to help Dave. Around £10,000 was raised in hours and the eventual fund total was a staggering £43,813.
Now, a year later, as dad of one Dave (41) begins the long road to recovery he has thanked everyone for their support.
He said: "To be honest I can't remember much about the first three months of last year after I was rushed into hospital.
"I seemed to wake up and there was a pandemic and I had almost died, had my leg taken off but all these wonderful people had done so much to help me.
"Reading all the messages from people and seeing what they done for me and my family just blew me away.
"The Ribble Valley is such a lovely, friendly area to work, everyone always says 'hello' and I soon got to know people."
Although he still faces a long journey on the road to recovery, Dave, who lives in Blackpool with his wife Keeley and their daughter Robyn (six), said he hopes to come to the Ribble Valley as soon as he can to thank everyone in person for their support, including Stonyhurst resident Katherine Turner who kicked off the fund raising.
Dave said: "Knowing that so many people were behind me, supporting me and wishing me well, has been such a comfort and strength, even on the worst days when I have felt so down."
The fit and strong dad fell ill with what he believed was a groin strain after a weekend game of football. He later developed flu-like symptoms and the pain in his leg, which had begun to swell, was excruciating. He was rushed to hospital where doctors then gave him the devastating news that he was suffering from a "necrotising fasciitis infection" in his left thigh, causing sepsis and he was placed into an induced coma.
He was rushed into surgery, but medics found that his kidneys were failing and his liver was showing signs of damage, before his heart rate dropped to a dangerously low level.
On Dave’s 40th birthday, January 16th, his family had to make the decision to amputate his leg - but doctors warned he may not survive the operation. Dave would survive - but would go into cardiac arrest multiple times.
After his surgery, Dave began to show signs of recovery but his weight plummeted from 12 stone to just five and he was unable to breathe unaided. Then as he was being moved in bed his bowel split and he was rushed to hospital in Preston to receive emergency micro-surgery. He had multiple blood transfusions, and then developed pneumonia.
He battled them all to pull through but admits adjusting to life as an amputee has been challenging and traumatic at times.
Dave said: "There have been so many moments of upset, depression and sheer frustration of not being able to do even the smallest tasks anymore.
"But my family and friends have been such a terrific support and Keeley always says to me 'At least you are here and you are alive.' "
Dave also praised his employers DPD for its support and promise that, despite him not being able to go back to his role as a delivery driver, there will be a job for him when he is ready to return to work.
Dave made the momentous decision to speak publicly for the first time about his ordeal to raise awareness of sepsis. And the moving story he shared with the UK Sepsis Trust's campaign, to raise awareness of this devastating illness, has been read by almost 70,000 people and received hundreds of shares across social media.
Dave said: "For me it is so important to make people aware of sepsis and to recognise the symptoms and not be afraid to ask doctors to test for it if you think that's what it could be."