Scots son makes urgent appeal after mum diagnosed with rare and 'potentially fatal' brain condition

By Sian Traynor & Naina Bhardwaj

A Scots man has issued a desperate appeal after his mum was diagnosed with a rare and potentially fatal brain condition.

Wojtek Zemlak, of Edinburgh, was in close and constant contact with his mum, Marzena, who lives in Poland.

He first became concerned for her wellbeing in November 2021 when she began to experience headaches.

Then, in December 2021, the 49-year-old was rushed to hospital after what turned out to be a cavernous haemangioma of the brainstem had caused two haemorrhages and left Marzena paralysed on one side of her body.

Wojtek told Edinburgh Live that he was "heartbroken" he was unable to be at his mum's side as he had to isolate due to Covid-19.

Stuck thousands of miles away waiting for his isolation to finish, it was days later that Wojtek was finally able to see his mum in intensive care.

Speaking to Edinburgh Live, he said: "The first symptoms were in late November and they were some headaches and no feeling in arms and legs on the right side.

"In the middle of December she became paralysed on right side of body and left ear and eye stopped working.

"I wasn't able to be with her as I was in Edinburgh and had Covid. As soon as I was able to travel I booked tickets and went to Poland to support Mum and my family.

"It is a really difficult time for the family. We are all heartbroken. We did not expect this to happen and we feel helpless.

"Mum is currently in the intensive care unit as she is extremely ill. I am with her now trying to support and comfort her."

Marzena is currently in the intensive care unit (Edinburgh Live)

Desperate to save his mum, both Wojtek and his 24-year-old sister Ala have launched a fundraiser that could allow Marzena to undergo a complicated surgery only available in Germany.

With Polish surgeons deeming the operation "too risky" the German hospital is the last hope for the family, and will need to be carried out within weeks to be effective.

Wojtek added: "Mum is a kind person with a really big heart. She always puts other people first.

"She loves cooking and gardening and hopes to be able to do this again. She is a loving mum and became a grandmother five months ago.

Marzena loves cooking and gardening (Edinburgh Live)

"We need to raise the money as soon as possible as mum is in critical condition and needs surgery immediately.

"The cost of having this surgery completed will be extremely expensive - 320, 000 Złoty, what is almost 71,000 euros.

"We need to pay this by next week and will need some help raising funds. If you can help donate towards the cost, we would be extremely grateful. Every penny counts so please donate anything you can. Please help us save my mum's life."

You can donate to the fundraiser here.

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