Mel Buckley lived an extraordinary life from Musician, Taxi driver, record holding swimmer to a simple life as a Husband and Father. Living with polio made him incredibly strong and when his aortic valve in his heart ruptured in 2010 he wasn’t going to let that slow him down. After lifesaving surgery, he continued his active lifestyle. Sadly, in may he contracted Endocarditis which quickly infected his mechanical valve leaving him with no other option than to try another surgery.

Mel faced this challenge as he did with any other, head on and with tremendous courage. The Doctors at Harefield hospital worked for 12 long hours desperately trying to bring Mel back to us, with his heart barely beating they didn’t give up. They decided to put him on ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) and full life support to give his heart a chance to recover. Sadly 2 days later it was clear that he was unable to recover. The ECMO machine gave us time to say goodbye, time for his wife Carol to give him that final kiss and time for his Daughter Erica to take his hand and sing him songs as he passed from this life to the next.

There are only 5 (yes FIVE!) centers in the UK that have these machines for adult use, the average cost to put a patient on ECMO is £45,000. If Mel had not been transferred to Harefield Hospital, we wouldn’t have been given this option. The cost of Mel’s treatment never even crossed Harefield’s mind; they were focused on doing everything they possibly could to save his life. The Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals are pioneers in their field and desperately need funds to continue their lifesaving work.
Every penny counts and potentially saves a life. No matter how big or small the donation, please help us give the gift of life or time for the next family who faces a similar situation. Erica Fielder