A KIND-HEARTED service user of a mental health hospital in Barnsley has supported the victims of the earthquake in Turkey and Syria after he felt a ‘burning desire’ to help upon seeing the disaster unfold.

John El-Jeizawi, a service user at Cygnet Oaks, said he felt compelled to help after seeing the pain and loss the victims experienced.

He wanted to provide aid for those affected by the Turkey-Syria earthquake which killed more than 57,000 people and left thousands injured earlier this year.

Together with Meena Hussain, a Cygnet healthcare therapy coordinator, they ran an appeal at the hospital unit and organised donations of items including clothes, shoes, towels, blankets, children’s items, hygiene products and more.

Cygnet Oaks, on Upper Sheffield Road, is a 35-bed hospital specialising in high-dependency inpatient rehabilitation for men, providing a multi-disciplinary treatment programme designed to assist individuals with their return to independent living.

John said: “I woke up one morning and put on the news to be confronted with the massive disaster.

“The devastation was vast and people, including children, were still stuck in the rubble - it made me feel really upset and I felt I needed to something.

“Later that morning Meena came to see me and we talked about the crisis. In that moment we both said we should get a donation going and support as much as we could.

“We started with putting the word around for clothing donations. I personally bought a drone to help find people in the rubble and some emergency blankets.

“Together we worked on getting cash donations and getting whatever we could to send and help.”

Posters were made quickly and put around the unit and Meena described the response as ‘overwhelming’ with boxes of item donations being arranged and more than £100 raised which has been donated directly to the disaster emergency committee and will provide shelter for four families.

The donated items have been transported to Turkey in the cities of Gaziantep and Antakya.

John added: “When I see other human beings suffering, especially children, it affects me deeply in such a way that I had a burning desire to help.

“I do not even recognise borders, I see humans just like me who have good days and bad, who experience feelings and emotions just like me.

“They feel pain and loss and I have felt it all.

“I felt like I didn’t have a choice and I had to contribute in some fashion to make a small but needed gesture of goodwill.

“I didn’t do it for a pat on the back I did it for the people that needed help and would do it again if and when the need arises.”

Meena added: “I’d like to say a big thank you to John for his support and the support of all those at Cygnet Oaks for donating to this appeal.

‘We have made a real difference and it is appreciated.”