AN SAS war veteran fighting for his life in a Thai hospital has started to breathe unaided as his family move a step closer to bringing him home.
Former elite sniper Stuart Kyffin suffered brain trauma as a result of a motorcycle accident in Thailand and may only have weeks to live.
His loved ones, many of whom are from Uttoxeter and Denstone, have now raised a fifth of the cash needed for a specialist medical evacuation.
However, they still need £80,000 to return the 43-year-old to his homeland and pay for his ongoing care.
Sister Mary Doherty, of Hamilton Avenue, Uttoxeter, has described the reaction from well-wishers and donors as ‘overwhelming’.
She said: “Stuart’s come off the respirator now so he’s breathing on his own but we definitely, definitely want to get him home as soon as we can.
“He’s still in a coma but maintaining his own breathing.
“We’re still liaising with the hospital here to find out whether he’ll get NHS care when he gets back but we’re very hopeful.
“We just need enough funds to get the medical evacuation and have made £19,600 so far through online donations.
“We’d like to give an enormous thank you to everyone who’s kindly donated to our cause so far.
“Their response has been overwhelming.”
Due to the critical nature of Stuart’s condition, a normal ‘medevac’ is not an option.
He will require a medical team and intensive care unit-trained doctors and nurses to assist with his repatriation.
Brother David Kyffin has been out in Thailand by Stuart’s side.
He said: “The doctors and nurses are doing a great job and the response so far has been nothing short of amazing. I am awestruck by the contributions.
“Now’s not the time for getting upset and crying and I need to do what I can for Stu now and get him back to the UK.”
Doctors believe Mr Kyffin’s high level of fitness has helped keep him alive since the crash on October 4.
He was working in private security and lived in Thailand with partner Jiraa, 40, and daughter Kyraa, three.
Those wishing to donate can do so online at www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/medevac-for-stu/96395 or drop in to the Uttoxeter Advertiser office in Church Street to make a cash donation.
Updates on the progress of the fund-raising are being posted on Facebook at Support Our Stu.