The frontline nurse has been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
A frontline nurse who cared for COVID-19 patients at the peak of the pandemic has been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Neri Pucci, a 28-year-old A&E nurse who is originally from Italy, has worked at The Royal Free Hospital in the Emergency Department since 2014.
On a planned career break at the start of the pandemic, he quickly returned to the frontlines as a bank worker to help his colleagues battle COVID-19.
“I knew my colleagues were struggling during the pandemic and I felt I should come back and help,” he told the i Newspaper.
Only six weeks after returning Neri became unwell, complaining of a fever, cough, sore throat, breathlessness and a headache – symptoms similar to COVID-19.
“Wearing full PPE for a 12-hour shift is quite exhausting, it makes you hot and sweaty. I had seen patients who had COVID, and of course took all precautions. So when I got ill I thought it must be the virus. I felt dizzy, short of breath and my heart was racing and then my knees went purple.”
Neri was quickly diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, a type of cancer that affects the white blood cells and requires urgent treatment.
Not on a substantive NHS contract at the time of his diagnosis, this left him ineligible for sick pay and thousands of miles away from family.
This led colleagues to set up a GoFundMe appeal to help support him during his treatment – which will include chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant.
Described as a kind and hardworking nurse, his friends and colleagues are now asking people to donate and help promote the appeal that aims to cover Neri’s accommodation costs while he requires treatment.