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Pioneering eye surgery offers hope for Lloyd

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fundFUNDRAISING is underway for 22-year-old Saundersfoot local Lloyd Davies, who desperately needs pioneering eye surgery in the United States who lost his eyesight after being diagnosed as suffering from Lebers Hereditary Optical Neuritis (LHON).

Led by Professor John Guy, the gene therapy treatment is the first in the world that could potentially cure LHON and fundraising is now well underway to help Lloyd raise the £10,000 he needs in order to make the trip to the USA and stay out there for the duration of the treatment.

The former Greenhill School pupil had aspirations of joining the Royal Navy to become a Navy Diver, and whilst he was waiting to complete the final parts of the admissions process, he enrolled onto the Marine Biology course at Swansea University.

In November 2013 Lloyd’s world was turned upside down when he began to suffer from a slight blurring of vision in his left eye. After putting up with it for a short period, he decided to go for an appointment at his local ophthalmic optician, who immediately referred him to the Ophthalmic Department at his local hospital who began to run tests to discover the cause of his sight issues.

By Christmas 2013 Lloyd had lost all vision in his left eye within just a month of first noticing any problem at all. By January 2014 he was given the devastating news that the cause of his sudden blindness was that he was suffering from LHON, and that usually the other eye would be affected within a matter of months.

This proved to be correct, as shortly after diagnosis Lloyd started to lose the sight in his right eye. By August 2014, shortly after celebrating his 21st birthday he was declared as being legally blind.

The condition has robbed the fun loving, sports mad individual from doing all the things he enjoys and has prevented him from pursuing the career of his dreams. It is hoped that the treatment will restore Lloyd’s vision and help him to pursue his ambitions in life.

Lloyd told The Herald about how the condition has affected his life and how grateful he is to those who have started the fundraising account and also to his family and friends who have helped him through this difficult period in his life

“When I was 20 years old, I lost my sight to a genetic disease called LHON (Lebers Hereditary Optical Neuritis). It took less than 5 months from having 20/20 vision to being registered as blind. Up until then I had lived the life of any normal lad growing up my age, being able to drive, play rugby, scuba dive and travel like anyone else takes for granted.

“The Summer before I lost my sight it worked at a Summer Camp in New York as a wakeboard instructor – something I now can’t do as I don’t think a blind person would be too safe driving boats!

“After I got back from Summer Camp I was in the process of joining the Royal Navy, something I now can’t accomplish.

“Once I was registered blind, there were life choices taken away from me – one of the biggest ones being my ability to drive – something I took for granted until I had to rely on buses, taxis, trains and lifts from other people.

“Later in September 2014 I joined the RNC (Royal National College for the Blind) in Hereford where I studied as a personal trainer in year one and currently doing massage in my second year, where I am still learning how to live with such limited sight.

“Since this all happened, everyday tasks have become daunting and tricky. Something as simple as finding the coffee to make a drink or trying to find something that has been moved by someone else.

“As trivial as it sounds, little things like having to take a picture of what other people are looking at, just to be able to enlarge and zoom in, just to try to see for myself. One of the things I now hate doing is going out for a meal, because even having to have the menu read out and chasing food around the plate becomes embarrassing.“

Regular everyday activities that people do without a second thought have become a chore for Lloyd and he explains that the surgery in America is his only chance to restore normality in his life, and that it is potentially not only himself that will be affected as there is a 50/50 chance of his younger brother also having the condition:

“As a result of the changes and difficulties that I’ve encountered I have been lucky to have such amazingly supportive family and friends that have helped keep my hopes up for future treatment and this opportunity to go to America for the trial is not one that I can afford to miss.

“The gene therapy treatment that is being trialled in the States is the first in the world to potentially cure my condition. “

“It is not just me has been affected by this as my younger brother has the same gene mutation and has a 50/50 chance of going blind too. Other members of my family also have the chance of being affected.

“As a result of this opportunity coming along, I will have to travel to and stay in America with someone coming with me and live there for 3/4 months whilst the trial is being carried out.

“I need to raise funds as quickly as possible is the trial is expected to start in the next few months.”

You can help Lloyd to get to the States and undergo treatment by donating via the ‘Light for Lloyd’ fundraising GOFUND ME page online, by typing the following link into your browser: https://www.gofundme.com/e8pte9xm

Alternatively you can search online for ‘Light for Lloyd’ and follow the links to donate, or go to social media site Facebook and search ‘Light for Lloyd’.

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Community

Library reservations service expanded

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PEMBROKESHIRE’S Library Service has extended its reservation service.

Customers can place up to two reservations for books and audiobooks, which are available and in stock at libraries in Fishguard, Haverfordwest, Milford Haven, Narberth, Newport, Neyland, Pembroke, Pembroke Dock, Saundersfoot and Tenby.

Items are also available to reserve from the service’s Stack (store).

Library members can place reservations free of charge, in person or via the online catalogue.

To access the online catalogue, log on to https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/libraries-and-culture and select ‘Find Library Books’.

Customers can also place a request for an item not currently in stock, to be purchased as one of their two reservations.

The Library Service is not offering an Interlibrary Loan service at the present time.

For details on the library services currently offered in Pembrokeshire, please view https://www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/libraries-and-culture

 

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Extra police patrols at Tenby skate park after ‘men approached young girls’

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CONCERNED locals in Tenby have taken to social media to write about concerns of inappropriate behaviour – between males they think may have been asylum seekers currently housed at Penally Army Camp – and young girls in Tenby.

The police have said they are investigating the matter.

Witnesses have said that young girls have been approached by males while at the skate park in Tenby.

The Home Office has said that the camp will be used to house up to 250 male asylum seekers whilst their claims are processed due to a shortage of alternative accommodation, caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Reports circulating on Facebook have claimed to have direct knowledge that male residents of the camp have been talking and exchanging contact information with local school girls, some suggesting that they were in school uniform when talking with the men.

However, the police have not confirmed that that is the case – it remains an unproved allegation.

One local claimed on Facebook: “So tonight a few of us concerned local parents decided to go to Tenby skate park.

“As we got there two young girls where sat on a bench waiting for someone.

“Some kids told us they were the ones talking to the men yesterday exchanging Snap Chat details and stuff.

“Then the men from the day before turned up… saw us and scurried off down the beach.

“The two girls then quickly wandered off.

“These girls were about 14.”

One resident had stated that they had reported the incidents he had seen and heard to the local police station, he claimed that an officer told him they were in talks with Greenhill School about the incidents.

Pembrokeshire County Council said that they are unable to comment on the alleged incidents, however a spokesman told The Herald in a statement: “All I would say is that our schools regularly advise pupils not to engage with strangers.”

Dyfed-Powys Police confirmed they are investigating two alleged incidents at the skate park, and have been in contact with the local schools.

A police spokesperson told The Pembrokeshire Herald: “We have received two reports of alleged inappropriate behaviour at the skate park in Tenby and are looking to speak to the people who contacted us.

“In the meantime the skate park is now part of our patrol plans and we have linked in with local schools to reinforce the School Beat Stay SMART online messaging.”

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Community

Off-duty lifesavers were lost but ready to react

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A PEMBROKESHIRE man whose life was saved by multiple twists of fate has praised those who stepped in during his hour of need.

Keen amateur triathlete Steven Landrey, 51, of Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire, was out on a post-lockdown bike ride when he suffered a cardiac arrest that was to set off the incredible chain of events.

Steven said: “We were about 40km into an 80km ride when it happened.

“It was strange and lucky as only two weeks earlier I was running alone in Paris, and the night before I swam 2km alone in the sea, and during lockdown had done lots of exercise on my own.

“But that day, I had met my brother-in-law, Chris, and some friends.

“I dread to think what would have happened if I would have been alone.”

Meanwhile, just a mile or so away was off-duty Welsh Ambulance Service Community First Responder Angharad Hodgson, from Martletwy, and her firefighter partner Steve Bradfield, from Narbeth.

Steven Landrey, 51, of Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire

“We were heading to meet friends at Barfundle Beach. We hadn’t been there for a few years so were following the sat-nav in the car,” said Angharad.

“We were running late and had taken a wrong turn as the sat-nav must have frozen or lost signal.

“We decided to turn back on ourselves, and that’s when we saw Steven on the floor being worked on by Chris.”

Always travelling with their defibrillator and kit, Angharad and Steve, who is also a trained medical responder, were able to pull over swiftly and step in with their life-saving defibrillator.

Angharad, 23, said: “We put the pad on his chest and after about 30 manual chest compressions, Steven had stopped breathing and the defibrillator told us we could shock him twice.

“We did it and he came back to us, but his breathing was very sticky so we continued CPR until the air and land ambulances arrived to take over.”

Steven was taken by road to Swansea’s Morriston Hospital where he underwent emergency surgery to fit a stent into a lower left artery of his heart, which had flooded with blood and caused the cardiac arrest.

Steven is making a good recovery at home and is taking the first steps back to work in his role as a European Managing Director for Babcock Aviation, an aerial emergency services business.

He said: “I’m working with the National Cardiac Referral Scheme and also a personal trainer and am feeling well and getting strength back every day.

“With my work, I have seen emergency care provision across Europe and Canada and the care I received at every step of the way here in Wales has been world-class.

“I can’t thank Chris, Angharad, Steve, the air ambulance crew and the paramedics enough, along with the doctors and surgeons at Morriston, they were all amazing.

“I realise everything went my way that day, and for those few hours I was the luckiest man alive, but having these trained people in our communities to support emergency medical services is absolutely vital.

“Community First Responders like Angharad, CPR training and Public Access Defibrillators really do save lives and are to be respected.”

Glyn Thomas, the Welsh Ambulance Service’s Community First Responder Officer in Mid and West Wales, said: “The prompt actions of Angharad and Steve were no doubt a major factor in the patient’s survival.

“Even off-duty as they were, they demonstrated control and organisation – they are both a credit to their communities and organisations.

“We wish Steven a smooth recovery and all the best for the future.”

Today is Restart a Heart Day, a national initiative run by the Resuscitation Council UK, British Heart Foundation, St John Ambulance and the ambulance services across the UK to promote education around Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).

In the absence of physical events due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Welsh Ambulance Service is encouraging people to watch a video by Resuscitation Council UK and keep an eye on social media from partners like Save a Life Cymru who are promoting key messages such as early recognition of cardiac arrest, early CPR and early defibrillation.

Restart a Heart Day runs parallel to the Trust’s month-long Shoctober campaign which aims to educate primary school children on the benefits of getting confident with CPR – even making this brilliant animated video.

Angharad, who also works for the local authority’s social services team in Pembrokeshire, has been a Community First Responder since April 2019 and was inspired to make that brave step by another incident back in 2018.

She said: “I was driving home from shopping along the A40 in Carmarthen when I came across a terrible car accident on the opposite carriageway.

“I pulled my car over and crossed the road to try and assist without any thought process really.

“Seeing the work of the paramedics on scene really spurred me on to become a Community First Responder.

“I’d like to thank Tony Wall who is my CFR Co-ordinator for being so supportive and giving so much of his time to fundraise for life saving equipment such as defibrillators in local communities.”

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