Dad says daughter’s hugs are keeping him alive as he can't afford to put heating on
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A dad who is hooked up to a kidney dialysis machine has said hugs from his young daughter are keeping him alive as he can't afford to put the heating on.
Ian Copete, 41, from High Wycombe, is facing an energy cost nightmare like so many this winter as his bill has risen from £150 to £400 per month.
Ian has said that he now has to rely on blankets, hot drinks and cuddles from his nine-year-old daughter Lyra to give him the heat he needs.
Ian's family have said they have been left with no choice but to keep the heating off until December and have even put the oven on to heat their small two-bedroom flat.
The primary school teacher has suffered from chronic renal disease since he was born - which has led to him having four kidney transplants in his life.
And due to the NHS cutting costs, Ian says he can only do dialysis for the minimum-required 12 hours in hospital each week, rather than the 20 needed to stay healthy enough to work.
Ian said: "It's terrible but I almost feel lucky to have had the condition all my life, because it has meant I can push through and I'm used to how I feel - where other patients may experience such shock at the symptoms and most cannot work.
"I try to do up to 20 hours of dialysis a week because obviously the more you do, the better you feel and healthier you are.
"Normal kidneys work all the time, but mine are totally inactive, so in effect the only time I have any renal function is while I'm on the dialysis machine.
"My wife is very good at heat saving ideas; we have big thick curtains to conserve heat, we leave the oven open after we use it to get free heat, and we use the dryer to heat our house and dry our clothes at once.
"It's better than nothing, and we have a lot of blankets. We should be able to have the heating on - but we're determined to try and see it through to December because we can't afford it."
The primary school teacher heaped huge praise on his daughter, who he has described as 'incredible'.
He continued: "My daughter Lyra will come and bring me blankets, she'll make me a hot drink, give me a cuddle. She's been amazing.
"She's even helped when I've had major bleeds before or even seizures during dialysis because my blood pressure dropped so low.
"She's an incredible little girl, and she deserves the attention and getting to see the Christmas lights and me being at home.
''We just want to give her as much of a life as we can because she earns it on a daily basis.''
Ian added that he thinks due to the extreme pressure the NHS is under, dialysis patients are having to fork out a 'shadow tax' on their health by being forced to pay the additional energy bills needed to stay healthy and work.
He said: "We've had to adjust what we spend money on. I do work full-time which helps, as many other patients in my position cannot work.
"My wife has to start Christmas shopping in January after the following Christmas so we have stuff to get [our daughter] - we have to think that far in advance.
"The issue a lot of people who have to dialysis are having now is that they have the fear of doing it themselves at home, combined now with the cost, which means that a lot now only want to do it in hospital.
"I don't mind going to hospital, but I don't like being away from home and my daughter.
"I've missed two of her birthdays and a New Year because I've been in hospital before, which is terrible because there is nothing I can do about it, so when I can be at home I want to be at home."