ALMOST 18 months after a police officer was left fighting for his life following a severe stroke, his family's dream of being back together could soon come true.

Darren White, who worked on the frontline for Greater Manchester Police for more than 20 years, suffered a near fatal intracranial bleed, which caused a hemorrhagic stroke in September 2021.

The dad-of-two, who was also on the scene following the Manchester Arena bombing, has been left with left-side paralysis and some cognitive impairment following his stroke.

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St Helens Star: The police officer suffered a near fatal stroke in 2021The police officer suffered a near fatal stroke in 2021 (Image: Local Democracy Service)

After spending more than a year recuperating in hospital, Darren, who was raised in Garswood but now lives in Ashton-in Makerfield, is desperate to get home to his family.

In a bid to help the situation, a friend of the 40-year-old started a GoFundMe page to try and raise £50,000 for his family, which is the amount needed for a downstairs bedroom and wetroom at their Ashton home.

The fundraiser has now passed the £25,000 mark - meaning Darren, his wife Jo, and their daughters Abbie, 13, and Lola, eight, have taken a big step towards their goal of being under the same roof.

St Helens Star: Darren has spent more than 18 months recuperating in hospitalairmenDarren has spent more than 18 months recuperating in hospitalairmen (Image: Local Democracy Service)

Working with neurological rehabilitation team at Trafford General Hospital, Darren still has to use a wheelchair, but his speech, language and long-term memory is almost entirely back to what it was.

He is having speech therapy and still struggles with his short-term memory, but his recovery is seeing success. A huge backing from the community through donations and fundraising events is also helping the family, which is in stark contrast to the events that unfolded back in September 2021.

St Helens Star: Darren has been improving with help from the neurological rehabilitation team at Trafford General HospitalDarren has been improving with help from the neurological rehabilitation team at Trafford General Hospital (Image: Local Democracy Service)

The day he was taken to hospital, Darren's wife Jo got a message from her daughter who had just got home from school, after she noticed something was wrong.

Slurring his words during a phone call to his wife, Jo asked a friend to check on Darren, who called 999 after paying him a visit.

Shortly after arriving at Salford Royal, the family was told Darren had been taken to surgery to operate on a ‘very aggressive’ intracranial bleed injury and that he may not survive.

During a time when visiting was restricted due to Covid pressures in hospital, Jo commended the hospital staff for their life-saving work and care.

St Helens Star: Darren with his wife JoDarren with his wife Jo (Image: Local Democracy Service)

“I am so very thankful that Darren was saved by the amazing surgeon,” she said.

“We were given the bleakest picture, but the doctors also still had hope. The ICU (Intensive Care Unit) was tough, the girls were taken to see their daddy and be involved right from the start.

“I couldn’t not include them. We didn’t know if any visit to see him would be their last.

“We were only allowed one hour per day, again due to Covid. We played music, rubbed cream on his feet and painted his toenails, something the surgeon commented on when he came out of surgery, lots of chatting and doing what we needed to get through and to try and get a response.

“I was commended by the ICU staff for bringing the girls, they said it was lovely to see children on the unit and have them involved.”

St Helens Star: Jo, Abbie, and LolaJo, Abbie, and Lola (Image: Local Democracy Service)

After more than 10 days unresponsive at Salford Royal, Darren regained consciousness and has been on the road to recovery since - although there is no clarity on whether he can get back to where he was physically and cognitively.

The plans for a house extension would have additional features such as ramps to make the home wheelchair friendly. The costs have been quoted between £70-80,000 by contractors.

The disability grant available from Wigan Council of £30,000 only covers a small portion of that - which is why Lara Dickinson set up a GoFundMe page to help them find the additional £50,000 they need.

St Helens Star: A host of fundraisers have helped the family to raise more than £25kA host of fundraisers have helped the family to raise more than £25k (Image: Local Democracy Service)

Fundraising events have played a huge role in boosting the fundraiser, as well as a feature on ITV’s Granada Reports and shout-outs from celebrities such as Emmerdale actor Mark Charnock and ex-Newcastle United footballer Rob Lee.

Jo explained that she and the family are “so thankful for the kindness and generosity of people and the lovely words of support too”.

“We really appreciate all the support since starting our fundraising,” Jo said.

“It’s not just about the donations, though we have been absolutely overwhelmed by people's kindness and the generosity of friends and strangers has been incredibly heartwarming.

“Sharing our story, our fundraising information and keeping stroke awareness (especially in young people) out there too is equally as important to us.

St Helens Star: Darren WhiteDarren White (Image: Local Democracy Service)

"It’s made us feel quite emotional at times as a family; Darren and myself especially when reading some of the wonderfully supportive comments on social media and on the GoFundMe page. There are a lot of amazing people out there

We are at the halfway mark of our goal now, which is fantastic... but still a way to go!”

To support Darren and the appeal to get him home, you can donate to the fundraiser here.