Andy is now recovering after his heart surgery.
Andy is now recovering after his heart surgery. Contributed

Heart-warming response to family's devastating circumstances

HE was battling to save his eyesight, fingers and life - but in a heart-warming gesture community members have come out to support a local man and his family through devastating circumstances.

On July 25, Coffs Harbour carpenter and father-of-two Andy Forbes returned home from work showing symptoms of the flu.

Wife Samantha said he became incredibly disorientated and fell over, breaking his arm.

"He lost all strength in his body and could barely walk,” she said.

After Andy began developing a rash and his left index finger had started to turn black, he was admitted to Coffs Harbour Base Hospital.

It was suspected he had meningococcal, but the tests were inconclusive. After 10 days, he was discharged.

Samantha said the mysterious infection caused his eyesight to start deteriorating.

Andy was then admitted to a hospital in Sydney where an MRI revealed the infection had caused spots on his brain and spleen.

After further tests, they also found the infection had spread to his heart valves.

Andy, who was born with a problem with his aortic valve, needed to have his valve replaced with a mechanical one.

On September 5 Andy underwent his heart operation, and is now recovering.

A friend of the family, Sarah Stokes, began a fund-raiser on GoFundMe to help support the young family.

Within 12 days the fund-raiser had reached $13,000.

"Andy will not be able to work for a period of time and the medical bills are mounting. Andy's wife Sam and his two children, three and one years old, are in Coffs Harbour while he is in hospital in Sydney,” she wrote.

"Andy is the guy that would give you the shirt off his back to lend a hand.”

Samantha said she is humbled by the community's generosity.

"We just want to thank you all again for your continued love, support and generosity. You have all helped to relieve some of the stress we are under so that Andy can focus on his recovery.

"I am eternally grateful to each and every one of you.”

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