17
Apr

Heartbreaking sacrifices made to care for Harrogate clients through Coronavirus crisis

Matthew Nutting Read 285 times

Harrogate Become a Hero Leah and Mark Hero Img
Pictured: Left, Leah with husband Mark - Right, Mark with son Oakley

Harrogate’s care-coordinator Leah Cates and her family have been torn apart by coronavirus, after as a family, they made the decision for Leah to move out for three months to avoid infecting her immunocompromised husband.

Leah from Harrogate in Yorkshire, made the heart-wrenching sacrifice to ensure she can provide essential care to Radfield Home Care Harrogate, Wetherby & North Yorkshire’s vulnerable clients, while the Covid-19 outbreak accelerates across Britain. Leah, 33, decided to move herself and her three-year-old son, Oakley, out of the family home to live away from husband Mark, 39. Mark suffered from kidney failure in 2000, but was saved after his dad Brian donated one of his kidneys, however the procedure permanently weakened Mark’s immune system.

Mark must take immunosuppressant pills for the rest of his life to stop his body rejecting his new kidney, and is at much higher risk of being left seriously ill or even dying if he catches Covid-19. And, because Leah is regarded as an ‘essential’ worker, she cannot join Mark as he self-isolates for the next 12 weeks. Leah’s role sees her mix with numerous other people, increasing the risk of her catching the disease which could potentially kill her husband.



Leah explains, “I am a key worker and am out in the community every day. I look after elderly people and people who are mentally ill. Some of them don’t have any family and rely on us for food and home care. I have to go to work so when me and Mark spoke about it, there really was no other option. Moving out seemed like the sensible thing to do. I love coming to work and the people I look after will need us more than ever at a time like this."

“We are going to miss each other a lot and it is going to be strange, especially for Oakley being away from his daddy. But health comes first and it is a necessary sacrifice to protect my husband.”

Mark, who is now living alone until June, comments, “My immune system does not work as well as it should so I am at risk, which isn’t nice to think about. Leah’s work is absolutely essential. She cares for people who have no one else so it is absolutely necessary. We have had to make a big sacrifice and I’ve not gone stir crazy yet, thankfully. But it’s clear what we have to do after the instruction from the Government. This isn’t a time to be selfish, it’s about saving as many lives as possible during this outbreak.”



Leah and Oakley left home in March to move in with Leah’s mum and step-dad and allow Mark to follow the strict self-isolation rules. He is now having to rely on friends and neighbours to go food shopping for him as he aims to spend the next 12 weeks without coming into direct contact with a single soul. Meanwhile Leah’s mum, Elaine, has been demoted to sleeping on the sofa to accommodate Leah and Oakley until June at her home in nearby Knaresborough.



Leah added, “My work is really important to me and the people who we look after. It is upsetting for Oakley but I am prepared to make this sacrifice to help the country get through this quicker.”

Mark added, “I do miss my boy a lot, so that is tough for me. I’m used to him running round and causing havoc. I am doing ok but it’s lonely. I can at least walk my dogs and be on my own. Mark will even have to celebrate his 40th birthday on his own on March 27 because of his requirement to stay away from others. He said he ‘can’t wait” to be reunited with Leah and Oakley in June for what will be ‘one hell of a party’ to celebrate their reunion and Mark’s big birthday.”