September 29th, 2016

Family at bedside of inspirational model

Updated: 4:04 pm, May 07, 2015

AN ‘INSPIRATIONAL’ model and personal trainer from Stratford may never return to the gym after undergoing radical brain surgery.

Blake Beckford was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis ten years ago, a condition causing his bowel and intestines to become inflamed.

The 33 year-old, who lives with his girlfriend Elisha, had to have his bowel removed and was fitted with a ileostomy bag.

But he did not let that stop him from exercising and became a personal trainer, fitness model and even launched a website helping sufferers of the condition – earning him an award as the most inspirational fitness model in the UK.

But six weeks ago he had to undergo brain surgery after discovering he had Arnold Chiari Malformation – a disease causing his brain to push downward below the entrance of his skull.

The surgery was unsuccessful and since then Blake has continued to deteriorate, contracting Chemical Meningitis, nerve damage and unexplained fluid on the brain.

The personal trainer’s family have rallied around, with his mum Angela, and 27-year-old girlfriend Elisha keeping a bedside vigil at the specialist brain hospital where he is being treated.

Elisha’s mum Tracy told the Observer: “For all this to happen has been such a bolt out of the blue. Literally everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. He’s been in hospital for six weeks and everyday seems to be worse than the last.

“He might never be able to do his fitness again which is heartbreaking. For someone so gorgeous who had everything to go to this is awful.

“The doctors are still looking at the best course of treatment for him but he just seems to be getting worse.”

As Blake is at a hospital so far away, Elisha has had to take unpaid leave from work to be with him. Both she and Blake’s mum are using the couple’s savings to pay for hotel rooms, and other living expenses.

Doctors have also told them extensive adaptions will need to be made to Blake and Elisha’s home in Stratford when he leaves hospital.

In a bid to help soften the financial blow, Tracy has set up a fund-raising page to help the couple.

She said: “There have been times I have travelled the three hours to the hospital just to sit in a car park and give my daughter a hug then drive home again. She is there all the time.

“They wanted to get married and have children but this is costing them so much money. They have faced some of the most unbelievable challenges together and continue both to do so with a smile, staying positive and putting others first. I feel they need something amazing to happen for them.

“Any donations would not only help pay toward Blake having his family by his side but will also help him get back on his feet after all of this, because unfortunately we still aren’t clear what kind of life he will be facing.”

Visit www.gofundme.com/blakeBeckford to donate.

Doctors are still searching for a cure for Blake’s condition after unsuccessful brain surgey. (s)

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