A Wigan man is recovering after being stabbed an unprovoked attack in Canada.
Barrie-Jon Houghton was a year into a two-year working holiday when he and his friends were targeted by a group of young men after a night out in Kelowna.
In the resulting altercation, Barrie was stabbed twice in his back but his mum Lynn believes he was walking away at the time.
The former Abraham Guest pupil, who had been working as a labourer during his time in Canada, was rushed to hospital and following emergency surgery and having to have his spleen removed, is now doing well.
Lynn said: “It was the early hours of a Sunday morning. He had been out with a few friends and they were walking along when a scuffle broke out with another group of young men. There was about 10 or 12 of them in the other group.
“One of Barrie’s friends was attacked and mugged but managed to run away to get help. It is quite a busy area so I think someone called an ambulance.
Barrie was stabbed twice in the back and from what we can gather he was walking away at the time. I am trying not to think too much about itMum Lynn
“Barrie was stabbed twice in the back and from what we can gather he was walking away at the time. I am trying not to think too much about it.
“He was in intensive care all last week and then he was moved onto a different ward before being released on Thursday. My sister Sharon Pickard lives in a different area in Canada so she flew across and has been helping with the victim support services.
“They have been helping him to understand how his life will change without a spleen. Sharon has taken him back to hers to look after him.
“You just don’t expect something like this to happen. We were getting very little information when it happened. The hospital wouldn’t tell us what was going on and Barrie’s friends didn’t know anything.
“We were just waiting for information and it was only really when Sharon got to the hospital that we found out what was going on. At first we thought it was his kidney but we later found out it was his spleen.”
Although Barrie is now recovering, his family have launched a fundraising appeal to help pay for his medical costs. Despite having travel insurance, it won’t pay out until he comes home, and he is unable to fly for another 10 weeks.
Lynn, who hasn’t seen her son yet, said: “He is going to come home for a visit when he can fly but he still wants to continue. He will come back and see friends and family and have big hugs all round, but he does want to go back and finish the two years.
“There is no NHS out there and he has got ongoing healthcare costs. He has got travel insurance but that takes time to claim and in the meantime he has got prescriptions and the cost of living to pay for. So the appeal is basically to keep him until he can fly home.
“The financial support is important, but it is also to for him to see people actually care. He didn’t want the page setting up because he thought nobody would care but the donations let him know that people are thinking about him.”
A 36-year-old man has been charged with aggravated assault and has been bailed to appear at court later in July.
To donate, visit gofundme.com/2buetvqf.