Desperate dad forced to crowdfund as he can't afford to visit baby daughter in hospital
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A desperate dad has been forced to turn to crowdfunding so he can afford to go and see his young daughter in hospital.
Four-month-old Esmae was rushed to hospital on 2 January with a respiratory infection which has delayed the first of two open-heart surgeries to repair two holes in her heart.
Wayne Wilkinson, 30, has been unable to see Esmae, who is waiting for a life-saving operation at Leicester's Royal Infirmary.
The dad unfortunately hasn't been able to afford the £30 train fare from his home in Peterborough to Leicester.
His partner Amanda Farr has not left Esmae's side since she was admitted on 2 January, with her staying in hospital accommodation all this time.
On the other hand, Wayne has been staying at home during the week with his eight-year-old stepdaughter.
But the cost of living crisis - which is impacting millions of Brits - has meant that Wayne is struggling afford to see his daughter.
So, the family have decided to turn to crowdfunding to raise much-needed cash so that Wayne can travel to go and see his daughter for the first time since she was admitted to hospital.
Amanda said: "It's been incredibly hard on Wayne. When he and Esmae are together, I've never seen anything like it.
"She settles so well on him, she is a little him all over. His eyes, personality, his temper. She's daddy's girl. He's really struggled not being able to see her."
When Esmae was rushed to hospital at the start of the year, Amanda only brought emergency items with her and left her car at home.
And with mum being in hospital accommodation, she admits that bills have been put to one side for the time being.
She said: "We've had to put bills to one side so I can be here. Wayne's had to take time off work to look after my eldest daughter at home.
"We have a budget for food at home but whilst I'm here I need to buy extra food for myself.
"I have to pay for taxis and to go to and from the hospital and pay for a laundrette as there's no washing machine here and I brought so few clothes.
"We haven't been able to afford to pay the train fair for Wayne to see Esmae at all. I didn't realise how difficult it would be especially with the cost of everything these days."
Esmae was rushed to hospital after a couple of days of feeling unwell, Amanda added: "The doctor suspected bronchiolitis.
"When we brought her in she couldn't breathe, she was just screaming and crying.
"They confirmed the bronchiolitis and then turned to me and said, 'did you realise your daughter has a hole in her heart?' I just burst into tears."
Since being in hospital, Esmae has also picked up Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), which can't be treated with antibiotics.
But in better news, £600 was raised on the GoFundMe page, which meant that Wayne could visit his daughter for the first time in hospital on 14 January.
Wayne said: "The fundraiser means a lot to me. It shows how much people do care and want to help and support others in a time of need when something serious like this happens."
And if you look at the fundraiser now, over £14,000 has been raised for the family. If you'd like to donate, click here.