Miles, better!

£91,470 of £100 goal

Raised by 493 people in 7 months
Created January 10, 2019
Fundraising Team
on behalf of Joanna Nickolls

36085332_1547202299436091_r.jpegMiles is a inter galactic force field who has added sparkle to so many people's lives.  

He has been struck by a sudden and terrifying respiratory disease - a bad flu turned suddenly into sepsis turned into lung failure that required an emergency medical evacuation from Nairobi to South Africa. He is now in intensive care in Johannesburg, in a coma, and on oxygen support.

Miles’ hospital bills in Kenya and South Africa are mostly paid for by his insurance. But on a technicality his emergency evacuation has not been covered. The cost of the plane, equipment and medivac team alone is a staggering £176,000 and only 80% of the costs of the doctors now treating him are confirmed as covered by insurance. 
We want to support his loving family, incredible wife Jo and courageous daughter Zara by helping them fund raise and cover the exorbitant costs of the medivac and his continued treatment.
If you are able to contribute his family and many friends would be overwhelmed.  Any monies received that are not needed will be returned. 

Thank you.

May the force be with Miles...

21 January 2019

Miles remains in intensive care at a hospital in Johannesburg but the last few days have brought about some extraordinary improvements. He’s conscious and aware, and has begun to respond to basic questions with a squeeze of the hand, a smile, a shrug of the shoulders and even the odd eyebrow raise when he’s not sure about something that’s been suggested.

He’s still can’t breathe on his own and we’re concerned by a continued irregular heartbeat (and he’s still on ECMO and dialysis), but considering that a few days ago, hard conversations were being proposed about life support, where things are now is nothing short of a miracle. 

Jo and Zara and the whole team behind them send their heart-felt love and thanks for all your stunning generosity thus far.  

We are eternally grateful for and humbled by your kindness. 

18 FEB

Tomorrow will be seven weeks since Miles got sick and six weeks since we arrived in Johannesburg. He has been in intensive care, lying in a bed for 45 days. In that time, Miles has survived lung failure, renal failure, cardiac failure and viral, bacterial and fungal infections. Today he’s still on ventilation, occasional dialysis and is fighting septicaemia as well as a bacterial infection. He's improved, but he's still really sick.

In the best-case scenario, Miles would be in hospital for at least a few more weeks. Throughout this time, it’ll be important to avoid all the heightened infection threats which could severely harm someone with such a weak immune system. Even a mild infection that a healthy person could fight off easily could seriously set back his recovery. He already has ‘intensive care unit-acquired weakness’ so after we navigate the risks in the ICU, we will need to think about rehabilitation. Its a long road ahead.

Zara has been wonderful. While all she really wants is for her Dad to be better and back home, she’s also brave and strong. Without much complaint she’s absorbed things many of us cry over, like getting on planes going away from loved ones without knowing exactly when we will see each other again. But its been very hard on her too.

What has been amazing is the support that our friends and family have provided. From remarkable financial generosity on our GofundMe (over $100,000); doctors that have flown half way across the continent in thunder storms to pick up Miles, dropped in to check on him even though they are no longer officially responsible; nurses who have painstakingly interpreted his tapped out requests for hot chocolate / to phone me in the middle of the night with a work related question / or unilaterally moved him to a room with a view; friends that have flown to South Africa to take care of us both, who have moved into our home to take care of Zara and keep her life as normal as possible, and UN colleagues--both friends and leadership--who have helped me navigate a complex bureaucracy and worked to solve seemingly impossible administrative problems. Thank you.

An entire village--a tribe-- of friends and family has closed ranks around us. This has been an incredibly difficult time, but it would have been impossible without the unbelievable support from all of you. I feel humbled and awed by your generosity and kindness. Thank you--I am beyond grateful. 



Despite unbelievably challenging obstacles and a series of sequential, life threatening illnesses and challenges, Miles is not only still fighting, he’s getting better. The doctors are still treating some damage from the original infection to give his lungs, heart, kidneys and pancreas the maximum chance to recover. His body is also battling several other health-care related infections at the moment.  He’s still very sick, but we’re begining tho think that maybe, just maybe, we’re through the worst of it. Once Miles is well enough that the intensive care is not needed—hopefully in the coming weeks—we will look at moving him to an inpatient rehabilitation facility.

There has also been some really good news from the UN and the insurance company. After a campaign led by UN friends all over the world and some timely support from senior officials, the UN has genrously agreed to continue to support our medevac to South Africa and even given me work leave to be with Miles for three months. The insurance company is working with the hospital to pay their bills in a different, quicker way than usual which helps a lot. This is a huge relief.

The financial issue now will be the costs of extended stay in the ICU and the remaining percentages of individual doctors fees (he's been in intensive care for 54 days and seen cardiologists, pulmonologists, nephrologists, neurologists, gastroenterologists, psychologists, physiotherapists and many many more). Insurance will cover a good portion but the costs will still be high.

My heartfelt and eternal thanks to the almost 500 of you who have contributed so generously to helping us. Thanks to you, we have a fighting chance at paying these costs off instead of going deep into debt. We have also benefitted hugely from the expert advice and ideas of friends who are doctors and from many people who have gone through similar experiences themselves or with loved ones. It is incredibly helpful to hear how so many have managed some of the terrifying things that Miles has been through. And the support in Johannesburg - from old friends and new ones, from the family members and comrades who have flown here to help out (not to mention our extended and unbelievably generous cadre of friends who have helped out with Zara in Kenya) - is astonishing and humbling. Your love, warmth and care leaves me speechless and feeling blessed in the middle of this nightmare.

Since the costs of the South Africa medevac will now be covered by the UN and by insurance company, your generous donations will now be used to pay off the medical expenses and additional costs associated with an extended stay in an ICU in another country and future rehabilitation costs that fall outside of insurance. If anyone is uncomfortable with this please let me know and we will credit your donation back to you immediately.

To all of you, again, thank you for everything. Please keep sending your thoughts, prayers and good advice. Thank you, thank you and thank you again.

Miles, Jo and Zara 


+ Read More
Please do stop following this group if you are bored of the sick Miles saga but if you’re not, here’s an update.

I am tube free at last with my last drainage hole in my back nearly healed. I am also cutting back on all the medications.

Today I was fired by the occupational therapists who say that I am now fine and should concentrate on my physio and restoring my stamina. Rude but gratifying nonetheless. The biggest remaining problem is my liver which has been messed up by the pancreatitis. My consultant in South Africa has prescribed and advises that we have it monitored in England before we go back to Kenya where - unfortunately - there is not the right type of specialist. I also have an incredibly annoying rash which thank God is not eczema and is probably caused by the liver thing. Tomorrow I have an MRI to check that all is well inside.

I suspect that was too much information but - hey ho. Zara has gone home to Kenya and is doing her last week at school, staying with Giles and Jasmina. Alex is coming to stay tomorrow and Jo is getting fed up with me - we are all longing to get on with life again.

Thank you, as ever, for all your support.

Much love Miles
+ Read More
From Miles!

“After six months of relying on Jo, for everything, it’s time that I give you all an update. I am feeling much better and a huge amount of that is due to you amazing people (anonymous and public) who helped us out when we really needed it. Thank you so very much.

I am typing this close to an A3 chart with all my drugs and symptoms written on it (colour-coded of course). This is just one tiny example of the huge amount of work that Jo has done to keep me alive over the last few months. You guys are astonishing – and thank you - but hey, didn’t I marry well? And Zara – what can I say – so brave, so strong. I am still very reliant on them but every day things improve.

I have now been out of hospital and without a temperature for two weeks. I only have one tube into my body – a particularly disgusting pancreas drain. This is a great thing - at one point in January I was attached to 11 different machines from dialysis to ECG.

Horrid as the last few months have been, I have been incredibly lucky in many ways. Back then, just conquering illness was they key. Now I am trying to gain weight and restore my stamina. I sleep even more than usual and am doing physio and OT but this time as an outpatient.

We are all longing to go home where everything is looking incredibly beautiful and green but will be going to England first as I have to be close to the right kind of doctor for a while longer. Just as with the dreaded ECMO machine, there is sadly no one in Kenya who specialises in what I need.

So, all in all, things are looking pretty promising. Thank you so much from a freezing Johannesburg – huge love to you all, Miles.”
+ Read More
From Jo:

So after 144 days in hospitals, Miles was just sent “home” to our apartment in Jo’burg for the weekend. The doctors decided we should be able to administer his current medication at home and though he still has tubes and is due for another scan early next week, with a lot of luck he’ll be able to stay out of hospital for at least a few days for the first time this year.

The doctors did say it’s fairly likely he will be readmitted again (the manager of the intensive care unit thought he hadn’t yet seen the back of Miles). But still...

The last five months have been an incredible challenge and we know how lucky we are to have got this far. We are hugely grateful to everyone, everywhere in the world who has kept us all strong.

Miles specially wanted to say that he’s only just today become aware of the GoFundMe effort. He’s very much in awe of your kindness, love, support and extremely grateful.

Zara is excelling herself at voluntarily and lovingly doing homework, making beds and setting and clearing tables. Long may it last!

I am hoping Miles will be sending out the next update himself. xxx
+ Read More
From Jo:

Today Miles was moved back to a normal medical ward with his own room and much more lenient visiting hours. Zara and I brought him a picnic lunch and he came outside to sit with us for a while.

Doctors seem to be expecting a few more ups and downs - rather than a simple path to recovery at this point. But for now we’re just happy he’s doing well and Zara is frustrated to be encountering more enquiries about homework than she’d been expecting recently.
+ Read More
Read a Previous Update

£91,470 of £100 goal

Raised by 493 people in 7 months
Created January 10, 2019
Fundraising Team
on behalf of Joanna Nickolls
Your share could be bringing in donations. Sign in to track your impact.
We will never post without your permission.
In the future, we'll let you know if your sharing brings in any donations.
We weren't able to connect your Facebook account. Please try again later.
1 month ago
rebecca lenkiewicz
1 month ago
Whitney Oren
2 months ago
Sophy Garner
2 months ago
Philip Winter
2 months ago
Saba Douglas-Hamilton
3 months ago
Nick Horne
3 months ago
Victoria and James Stockton
3 months ago
3 months ago
4 months ago
Use My Email Address
By continuing, you agree with the GoFundMe
terms and privacy policy
There's an issue with this Campaign Organizer's account. Our team has contacted them with the solution! Please ask them to sign in to GoFundMe and check their account. Return to Campaign

Are you ready for the next step?
Even a £5 donation can help!
Donate Now Not now
Connect on Facebook to keep track of how many donations your share brings.
We will never post on Facebook without your permission.