Fundraiser for Blackburn dad fighting for his life while spending Christmas with family in Canada

David Valender with his daughter
David Valender seen smiling while he's fishing on the water's edge Credit: MEN Media

Blackburn dad is fighting for his life on a ventilator after becoming ill while spending Christmas with family in Canada.

David Verlander, a dad-of-four, decided to go and spend Christmas with his daughter Hollie.

But while he was there he fell ill and is now in an induced coma, while his family are facing medical bills of more than $10,000 a day.

David Verlander a long time member of Blackburn Golf club Credit: MEN Media

His daughter has lived in Canada for years and paid for the flights so she could spend the festive season with him and her brother Max.

Before jetting off, the 59-year-old Rovers fan had a chesty cough, however, the family thought nothing of it because they'd all been ill.

He did not take out holiday insurance because he has pre-existing conditions and his family said he could not afford the cover.

26-year-old Olivia says: "He looked at getting travel insurance before he went but he has pre-existing conditions which meant that the travel insurance was way too expensive and obviously we had no idea this was going to happen."

"He had a bit of a chesty cough before he left, we've all been a bit poorly so we just thought it was a bit of a bug."

But while on the flight, David took ill and paramedics were waiting for him as they landed.

As he woke on Christmas Day, David's condition worsened and he was taken to hospital where his is now on a ventilator fighting for his life.

His desperate family is now trying to raise the money needed to cover medical bills.

Olivia said her dad, a long-time member of Blackburn Golf Club, and junior football coach is now in an induced coma.

"He's been there for three days now and is still on a breathing machine because he can't breathe by himself."

The 26-year-old explained that unfortunately, doctors still aren't sure what is wrong with David, however, he has tested positive for influenza and pneumonia.

David Verlander, family photo before he became ill Credit: MEN Media

Olivia and her mum Lucy are still in England waiting to hear more, and are prepared to jump on a flight.

Olivia said the family feel a bit helpless and it is why she decided to set up the Go Fund Me to raise money for his medical bills, which could be more than $10,000 a day - even more while he is on a ventilator.

Olivia said the family has been overwhelmed at how much money has been donated in just one day, with more than six thousand pounds raised so far.