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Disabled father forced to spend £3,500 on hotels to be near his cancer-stricken son

A DISABLED father has been forced to spend £3,500 on hotels over the past two weeks to be close to his cancer-stricken toddler as he battles for life.

Doctors in Glasgow are preparing to give two-year-old Kai Laidlaw a bone marrow transplant in a last-ditch bid to save his life.

His father, 49-year-old Calvin Laidlaw, who has MS and is severely disabled, had no choice but to move into expensive hotels in the city to be close to his family.

He and his fiancée Pamela from Leith have been helped with generous donations but are desperate for a more permanent solution to their accommodation crisis.

Calvin, who is in a wheelchair and currently even unable to feed himself, can’t cope with the commute to Glasgow but wants to spend as much time as he can with his family.

Calvin Laidlaw with his son Kai
Calvin Laidlaw with his son Kai


Kai could be in hospital in Glasgow for up to six months as doctors fight to save his life.

He was diagnosed with infant acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, a rare deadly cancer that only affects two people a year in the UK, when he was just eight months old.

After ongoing treatments he relapsed in March. Doctors said without a bone marrow transplant he would only have months to live.

“Kai relapsed in March, they didn’t think he would make it,” said his mother Pamela Neilson (38).

“His Dad has progressive MS and is in a wheelchair at the moment. Calvin can’t walk at all and needs a hoist to get him into the shower room and bed.

“We couldn’t get any property to rent in Glasgow. Every time we call up it’s gone or they are not interested in a short term lease.

“I’m looking into it, family and friends. We’ve looked at hundreds of places. I’ve got emails from countless letting agencies saying they don’t have any suitable properties.”

Calvin, Kai and Pamela
Calvin, Kai and Pamela


She continued: “We went into the Hilton. Basically it’s the busiest time of the year, there is concerts, festivals and everything going on.

“We were calling round all the hotels. When I called the Hilton they had availability – which was the hardest part.

“It also had to have a wet room for Calvin and the geography, it was only 10 or 15 minutes from the hotel to the hospital.

“We’re booked into the Plaza for this week. The Hilton for that week cost £2,400. It’s £1,100 for the second week at the Plaza.

“We’re due to move out of the Plaza on Monday.”

Asked how they have managed to pay the hefty hotel bills she said: “Friends and family have been doing fund raising which has been a tremendous help.

“Strangers as well have been amazing – we were very touched.

“What savings we do have, everything has gone into this. This is Kai’s only chance. We have to give everything we’ve got.

“We never thought he would make it to this age. But he has. It is the worse medical condition he has ever been in – but he fights so hard.

“There is quite a high chance it won’t work but there is a chance is could. Any chance is worth a try.”

She added: “I’m not complaining, we’re getting a chance to save Kai which is priceless. I feel like we’re being punished more because Calvin is a wheelchair user.

“Having to stress about all this – it makes him feel like he’s a burden. He shouldn’t feel like that in this day and age.”

Calvin, who has difficulties is with his speech, said: “It’s been horrendous. It’s hard.”

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