Family praying for young Sheffield dad who 'shouldn't be here' after bleed on the brain

A fundraising appeal has been launched for a young Sheffield dad who was left in a coma after being rushed to hospital with a bleed on the brain.

Tuesday, 2nd February 2021, 11:42 am

Ricky Howley, 27, had been complaining for months of headaches and a stiff neck before he collapsed at his home in Norfolk Park on December 28 last year.

He was taken to hospital where he underwent emergency surgery and was put into an induced surgery, with his family warned to prepare for the worst.

The self-employed housebuilder, who has a daughter, Millie Rae, aged eight, and is engaged to Bethany Dawson, was woken after three days and initially appeared to be doing well.

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Ricky Howley with his fiancee Bethany and daughter Millie Rae on Christmas Day, just three days before he collapsed with a bleed on the brain

But 48 hours later he had another massive bleed and was rushed back to theatre.

Ricky remained in intensive care at the Royal Hallamshire for three weeks and had to undergo major surgery for a third time when a shunt was fitted to drain the fluid from his brain.

He is now being moved to the Northern General Hospital as he begins what his family say will be a ‘long, slow road to recovery’.

Ricky Howley's mum Anna said he loves life and everyone is praying for him to make a full recovery

His mother, Anna Barstow, told how he still cannot walk, talk or swallow food, and communicates by shaking his head or blinking.

"It’s been a hell of a five weeks. The doctors said Ricky shouldn’t be here, and it’s a miracle he’s still alive,” she said.

"He’s been so strong and brave through all of this and we’re just praying he can get back to how he was, though the doctors have said it will be a long, slow road to recovery.

"He loves life and was quite a party animal. He was one of those kids who’d never been ill but he’d been complaining for a few months about headaches.

"I told him he had to see a doctor but he said ‘I’ll be alright, it’s just a headache’.

"He also had a stiff neck, numbness in his hands and pains in his heart, and he was saying how he had another headache on Christmas Day, a few days before he collapsed.

"I want to make people aware that if they have any of those symptoms they should get it checked out because what Ricky’s gone through shows that strokes can happen to anyone at any age.”

A fundraising appeal set up by friends to help Ricky, who had bought a new house shortly before the first lockdown, has already passed £2,900 and donations are still pouring in.

Anna, who had seen Ricky earlier on the day he collapsed when she said he was looking very pale, told how the family was touched by the support people had shown.

"We’d like to thank everyone who has donated, from the bottom of our hearts. Some of them are people who’ve known him since he was a baby but others are people he’s never met,” she said.

“Ricky’s such a loved boy. He’s always loved life and this will help him love life once again. Everyone’s right behind him.”

To donate to Ricky’s fundraising appeal, visit