Port Vale owner Norman Smurthwaite has offered to assist Coventry cancer victim Kane Orchard, who is awaiting a crucial bone marrow transplant.
The Coventry Telegraph reports that Orchard has a 50-50 chance of surviving the procedure but in the meantime he has suffered a frustrating battle with the benefits system.
The newspaper says Orchard was struggling to afford accommodation and day-to-day living costs and that the anxiety of dealing with the bureaucracy of the benefits system on top of his illness had made his life ‘unbearable’.
His is a genuine case and he is a victim of bureaucracy – I have no patience or time for bureaucracy…
Smurthwaite read the story and has offered to help. He told the paper that he had already been in contact with the benefits office and pledged to take Kane’s case to top officials at Coventry City Council next week if no progress had been made.
Mr Smurthwaite added that he would also consider paying Kane’s rent while the situation was sorted out.
He said: “His is a genuine case and he is a victim of bureaucracy – I have no patience or time for bureaucracy.
“I will go to the council and tell them they need to get their act together. He could be dead by the time they sort it out at this rate.”
Mr Smurthwaite also owns several safe houses in the city for victims of domestic violence and says he has given properties away to those who needed them in the past.
He added: “I hate to see genuine people disadvantaged because of bureaucracy.
“The system is supposed to protect the most vulnerable. This is someone who has contributed to society but finds that the safety net he has contributed to isn’t there for him. That’s fundamentally wrong.
“I take exception to vulnerable people being exploited.”