Nessy bike ride helps raise thousands to thank doctors for trucker's Sheffield hospital care

The family of a trucker struck down with severe necrotic pancreatitis has raised thousands of pounds for Sheffield Hospitals Charity to thank doctors and nurses for his care in the city.

Otto Mathiesen, aged 49, from Burton on Trent fell ill with sudden sickness and stomach pains in his lorry whilst travelling on the M1 through South Yorkshire last year.

He was rushed to hospital where he spent the next seven months, before family members decided to take part in Etape Loch Ness and countless bake sales to give something back for the care he received.

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Nicky, Otto’s wife, said: “Otto did not suffer any symptoms prior to being taken ill. He was travelling on the M1 in his lorry and phoned me to tell me not to eat my sandwiches because he had just eaten his and was having stomach pains and was being sick - he thought it was food poisoning.

“He pulled over, and when he opened the cab door he fell out of his lorry. His colleague called an ambulance and he was taken to hospital with suspected acute pancreatitis. He was treated with IV fluids, morphine and oxygen, however it soon became apparent that he had a severe case which had progressed quickly.

“The usual triggers for pancreatitis are gallstones or alcohol, but Otto’s case was diagnosed as no cause, with a 1 in 15,000 chance of his severity. It was the worst case that his consultant had seen in twenty years. Otto needed several different types of feeding tubes, nineteen CT scans, thirteen operations, numerous drains and three pancreatic procedures.

“Medically he shouldn’t be here today and is still defying all expectations. His seven month stay in hospital was a roller coaster of emotions. On the first day I was told he might not make it through the night, and there were a handful of occasions where I had to prepare myself for the worst.

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“Otto received specialist care in Sheffield, which was an hour and thirty minutes’ drive away. To keep myself sane I continued to work because I needed the routine to keep me going. I was so busy working, visiting and running the house because there were still things that needed to be done, I didn’t get time to dwell which helped.

“It was also a financially difficult time resulting in me selling Otto’s whisky collection and motorbike to keep us afloat. I used to joke that Otto would come home and there would be nothing left.

“Although Otto was starting to feel better physically, his mental health was beginning to suffer. He received such good care by the hospital that he was afraid to leave and go back home. It was a scary time but we coped.

“The illness has been life changing and we look at things a lot differently now. Otto went back to work in May 2017 on a phased return to work undertaking a different role because he was not strong enough to load the transporters. He has pushed himself to get back to some sort of normality but is in pain daily and has to take an array of medication.

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“A decision was made to raise funds for Firth 9 to say thank you. Staff were fantastic with both myself, Otto and my Stepson, Otto Junior. To raise funds, Otto’s brother in law, Chris McCleod undertook at the Etape Loch Ness - a gruelling 66 mile bike ride route around Loch Ness. Multiple bake sales took place in the Highlands of Scotland and homemade Scottish tablet was sold in Otto’s sister’s barbers shop. A large donation from Simpsons Oils Ltd was also gratefully received.

“In total a donation of almost £2,750 was made to contribute towards the purchase of a specialist chair to benefit patients of Firth 9. The chair is for patients who have numerous drains and machines for when they are taken down for procedures or scans.

“The chair can easily be turned into a bed which means that the patient has less upheaval getting them from a chair into a bed adjusting medical equipment and they can then be taken down to theatre or X-Ray with ease.”

To donate to Sheffield Hospitals Charity, visit