Kidney op student’s fees fight handed cash boost

Daniel Autumn with mum Carolyne Douglas. Picture: IAN GEORGESON
Daniel Autumn with mum Carolyne Douglas. Picture: IAN GEORGESON
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JUST days ago, Daniel Autumn faced a choice between his education and his mother’s life.

He owes his university £1800 in fees, but learned that he would be unable to work over the summer to pay the bill if he went ahead with his plan to donate a kidney to his sick mother, Carolyne Douglas.

But since his story featured in Monday’s News, donations to Daniel’s internet fundraising account have rocketed, and the 25-year-old now looks set to return to university next year.

He said: “The reaction has just been unbelievable, I can’t put it into words. It’s touched me and my mum so much.

“The donations are mostly coming from people who I’ve never met. It’s really fantastic how kind people have been.”

At the start of the week, about £100 was in Daniel’s fund but the sum was approaching £1100 last night, just days after Daniel and Carolyne appeared on our front page.

The story was picked up by national papers and featured on news websites in the United States, while comedy writer Graham Linehan highlighted Daniel’s plight to more than 170,000 followers on Twitter.

A donation of £250 was pledged yesterday to add to the dozens of £5, £10 and £20 donations already made.

Heartwarming messages of support have also been left by strangers.

Heriot-Watt University, where Daniel is a psychology student, said he still has to pay the fees on time.

However, he has been given a grant from the university’s hardship fund, which he says he will spend on living expenses during his recuperation, which could take up to 12 weeks.

Ms Douglas and her son, of Quarrybank Close, learned yesterday that the operation is due to go ahead next month.

After the transplant, Ms Douglas, 44, whose health is deteriorating rapidly and who is forced to undergo dialysis three times a week, should be able to lead a normal and healthy life.

“I don’t feel too scared about the operation any more,” Daniel said. “All of the donations have really taken the edge off the situation.”

A spokeswoman from Heriot-Watt University said: “Daniel has now met with the university’s Student Support representatives and, as advised, has successfully applied for help from the student hardship fund.

“We hope that Daniel will now be able to concentrate on his and his mother’s forthcoming treatment, and our very best wishes are with them both.”