Chiefs assistant coach and Manu Samoa technical advisor Andrew Strawbridge is recovering well after his recent near death experience.
He fell ill during his flight to Samoa to join the team ahead of their historic All Blacks Test match two weeks ago. He was admitted to hospital with an infection in his right eye and his condition deteriorated rapidly.
Strawbridge remains in a stable condition and is recovering in Waikato Hospital in Hamilton.
“I am extremely grateful to Dr David Galler and his team for saving my life," he told the Chiefs' official website.
“I have a beautiful wife, three wonderful children and a very special mother and sister who still have me here thanks to Dr Galler and his wonderful team at Moto'otua National Hospital in Samoa and the team at Waikato Hospital.”
“It is only now that the events of the last two weeks have become clearer and I now realise how fortunate I am to be here.
"It is a very emotional time and I know the road back is a long and challenging one.
"I woke up to discover that my wife and her friend Deborah had set up a Givealittle appeal in a gesture of gratitude to the people of Samoa and the Moto’otua ICU.
"That selfless act by my wife has made me realise how loved I am.
“We are overwhelmed by the support for the Givealittle appeal for equipment for the Moto'otua National Hospital ICU and I can’t believe we have already raised over $24,000. I want to thank everyone who has generously donated and hope people continue to support it.
“My family and I really appreciate the messages of support from family, friends, the Chiefs whanau, the Manu Samoa aiga, New Zealand Rugby, the wider rugby network, and complete strangers. It has been very touching.
"The outpouring of support has been extremely humbling.
“We also appreciate those media outlets who have respected our family’s privacy in what has been an absolute rollercoaster ride and those who did not film me on life support when my children and mother had not seen me in that state.”
The man who is attributed for saving Andrew Strawbridge’s life, Dr Galler said from his Intensive Care Unit in Samoa: “All of us who work for the Samoan National Health Service are thrilled that Andrew Strawbridge is on the road to recovery.
"I know that the prayers of many are for Andrew in the hope and expectation that his recovery will be swift and complete.
“We in the ICU are deeply grateful to the Strawbridge Family for launching this appeal to improve the services we can offer at the nation's only Intensive Care Unit. We will do that through improved training for staff and the procurement of essential equipment.
"We wish to thank each and every donor for the effort they have made to contribute and for their contribution itself.
“Our gratitude is clearly matched by that of National Health Service here and, if the local papers and television are an indication, of all of Samoa too.
“All nations, no matter their GDP, face great challenges in the affordability of healthcare, Samoa is not alone in that regard. The service here is slowly evolving in a way that will be appropriate for the Samoan context.
"The generous donations from this appeal will accelerate that growth greatly, both because of what we will be able to procure but more importantly because of these individual acts of kindness. The impact of people’s generosity is simply enormous. Fa'afetai lava.“