On Saturday, May 12th 2018 Alister Bredee and Pummaret Sangtong were married in Nakhon Sawan. Nakhon Sawan lies at the heart of the Thai rice-growing region. The province lies three hours drive north from the Thai capital, Bangkok Thailand used to be the largest rice producer in the world but it has now been outstripped by China, India and even Vietnam. A gay wedding in the rural rice lands was a big event that got a lot of media attention. Not all of it was accurate and some was definitely unwelcome. The Bangkok Post reported the event like this:
“NAKHON SAWAN: A 66-year-old Irish businessman who runs a fitness club on Koh Samui married his 31-year-old Thai male partner on Saturday after they had been living together for many years. “
The information was way off base. Alister Bredee was not 66 and Pummaret Sangtong was not 31. But then a lot of the reporting of the event was far from accurate. Film and comment on the wedding appeared on the 9 pm evening News on Thai TV that evening. The segment was an amazing four minutes in length.
That was a year ago, But nine months into the marriage, Pummaret Sangtong was struck down by a serious spinal infection.
This was on Thursday February 7th. Two days after the Chinese New Year. It would be untrue to say that the symptoms appeared out of the blue. For many months he suffered from unpredictable fevers and mysterious skin rashes. Things began to get more serious when he gradually lost the ability to urinate. On February 7th his stomach swelled up like a balloon. He went to see th Doctor who sent him quickly to the hospital. It was there they fitted a catheter and told him to return on Saturday so it could be removed. Yes, they removed it but he still could not “pee’. It was then refitted. Then he was sent home!
On the Monday he had difficulty with walking. In the morning he struggled to climb the stairs to his bedroom but in the afternoon he lost complete use of his legs. Someone had to carry him downstairs so that he could go back to the hospital in Nathon. Koh Samui Hospital then ambulanced him to Surrathani, on the mainland for further tests.
The MRI showed a spinal cyst. The diagnosis was TB of the spine. The treatment, huge doses of intravenous antibiotics. On the following Sunday, his doctors afraid of opportunistic infections in the very full hospital ward decided all of a sudden to send him back to Koh Samui This time there was no ambulance on this occasion. Fortunately, his nephew lived nearby and was able to pick him up and drive him to the port of Donsak. Alister put his car on the ferry and came to Donsak to collect him. Remember, Pummaret could not walk which made the journey very difficult.
The hospital promised a wheelchair and other help on his return to Samui. Help was not forthcoming. They said his Social Security payments had fallen into default over the past six months.
This happened because his employer had failed to make the monthly payments! Alister Bredee, realised they were on their own. Amazing help was forthcoming from friends via Facebook when Alister put out an appeal for funds. Then he remembered a Thai Traditional Practitioner on the island. “Ajarn Chalawit“. had helped heal a torn shoulder ligament some years before. Alister had watched him work with patients. He saw how he helped people learn to walk again. Some were seriously injured from gunshot wounds and motor accidents. But with patience and care they slowly regained their mobility.
“Ajarn” came out of retirement to work with Pummaret.
The treatment has been intensive and ongoing and incredibly generous. They have worked together most days since February 22nd. Treatment begins early in the morning and continues until the afternoon. This? includes massage, herbal infusions and manipulation. The kindness extends to meals. Sometimes this is lunch and dinner. Pummaret has even stayed at “Ajarn’s” house along with his mother for several days during the most intensive part of the treatment. Alister has tried to pay “Ajarn” as best he can. The treatments are amazing. His patient practically ignores his wheelchair now and can move about with a walker or a stick. He can stand on his own for brief moments. With a firm arm to lean on he can walk into shops and restaurants This has all happened in only 3 months. During this time another young Thai man has appeared. His condition very similar to Pummaret’s, but he has been two and a half years in treatment. He like Pummaret still has a catheter and difficulty in walking. The two share “Ajarn’s” skill and knowledge in daily sessions
“Ajarn” and his wonderful wife deserve much. much more. Alister has run out of money so would ask you to help him raise funds towards treatment and the other expenses that have accrued. He has had to let go of a lot of work because of the situation. Pummaret can’t walk or use a motor-bike so Alister is there to drive him to his treatments and then pick him up and take him back home.
His mother has helped enormously. His sister came and spent a month on Samui working as a paid carer. This is no longer necessary as he can do so much more for himself Alister has started a GogetFunding Campaign so that Ajarn Chalawit can be rewarded for his amazing work and expenses can be covered so that Pummaret can return to full wellness and then be able to get on with his life. He is still a young man and many opportunities lie in front of him.
Any donation, however, small is welcome. It will help offset costs and pave the way for his road to recovery. A couple of pounds, two Euros or a couple of dollars will all help. Pummaret has been promised the job of Resort Manager when he gets back on his feet. They won’t keep the opening forever. So please help him achieve his dream. The end-date for this Campaign. It’s June 12th. That will be his 42nd birthday. If you would like to make a contribution,
“> simply press the link and you connect to the website.
PS. Today is June 3rd. This appeal ends in 9 days. We are considerably short of the target, so all help is gratefully received. We are approaching the 4-month mark when this all began. Yes, Pummaret has made progress but I am saddened how the initial flood of visitors wishing him well has now become a trickle. People seem to forget so quickly and I realise we are very much on our own. Please help me get him back on his feet so he can get on with his life.
May 14th 2019
Donated of ?100,000.00
Koh Samui, TH
I am an Wellness Consultant and author with more than 30 years experience in the field