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London firefighter, 43, left paralysed from the neck down due to rare illness

A London firefighter has been left unable to work after contracting a rare illness that’s left him paralysed from the neck down.

Dave Elson, 46, a firefighter based at Greenwich Fire Station, was said to be previously fit and healthy according to his close friend and former colleague, Rob Hyde who spoke to My London.

Rob said he had received the news on June 12 that Dave was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare and serious condition that affects the nervous system.

“We’re not 100 per cent sure but two weeks beforehand he had his first coronavirus jab,” Rob said.

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Rob Hyde (L) with Dave Elson (R) when they were colleagues at Surrey brigade

He added: “It could be a reaction to that, it could be an infection of a different kind. We‘re not 100 per cent sure.”

Rob confirmed that Dave’s doctors are purely treating him for the syndrome and have not linked it to the coronavirus vaccine.

Guillain-Barré syndrome is treatable but it can be life threatening in some instances and leave some people with life changing health problems.

‘He’s a good egg’

Dave Elson has been left paralysed from the waist down after mysteriously contracting a rare disease
Dave Elson has been left paralysed from the waist down after mysteriously contracting a rare disease

“Dave said he wouldn’t wish this on his worst enemy. To all of a sudden not have an function from the neck down, it’s horrible,” Rob said.

He added: “He’s an a bsolutely top fellow, wears his heart on his sleeve, it’s difficult to find a photo of him where he’s not smiling.

“He’s got all the time in the world for his wife and daughter, a lot of people are quite shocked to hear what’s happened because he’s such a lovely fella, he’s a good egg, he’s a good laugh.”

Rob has been in intensive care for a month now with limited visitors from family and friends due to the coronavirus restrictions.

According to Dave’s family, he has made “slight” recovery but is still connected to a ventilator for most of the day to support his breathing.

London firefighter, 43, left paralysed from the neck down due to rare illness

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As well as a committed firefighter with 18 years experience in the brigade, Dave is also a keen Tottenham Hotpsur fan and ticket holder.

Rob has taken the initiative to set up a GoFundMe for Dave to support his recovery journey.

“If I was in his situation, he’d be doing the best for me and my family,” Rob said.

He added: ” There’s a glimmer of things getting better, but it’s a long road. 20 per cent of people are seriously affected for the rest of their lives and don’t make a full recovery.

“The fundraising is for him to make that recovery, for necessary items, for treatment, for niceties, things for him and his family that they need. As a country we’re hoping to gradually return to some normality but he definitely won’t be now.

“He would have been booking his holiday with his family. When he’s here at work he puts in 100 per cent, he thinks of others.”

So far the campaign has beat its target of £1,000, raising over £3,000 in just three days.

Rob said: ” He and his wife have seen the page.

“He’s a man not to have his pride centred. He knows about it now and he’s quite overwhelmed and emotional about the love and support coming his way.”

To support the campaign, click here.

Do you have a story you think we should be covering? If so, email [email protected]


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