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Australian surfing great Mark Richardson has been fighting for his life in a Bali hospital. Since coming down with an as-yet unreported ailment that caused severe upper gastrointestinal hemorrhaging and inflammation of the intestine, Mark has been in critical condition. Meanwhile, he and his family have been urgently attempting to obtain local donations of his rare blood-type, as well as raise money to transport him back to Australia for further treatment.
The ordeal began on Friday, when Richardson posted a photo of himself in a Bali hospital, along with a plea for help. “Hey guys this is a bit of a serious post,” read the caption. “I am in a Bali hospital and desperate need of some blood transfusions. I have lost a lot blood. My blood type is rare to find in Indo and I am looking for anyone who is A negative or O negative to help me recover from this problem I have been facing. If anyone can help please reach out. Forever grateful. Cheers Richo”
A day ago, Richardson’s family began a Gofundme page to continue the request for blood donations, as well as raise money to have Richardson medevaced back to Australia. “Unfortunately, he has only received a few bags of the donations for unknown reasons beyond our control. Additionally Mark’s haemoglobin levels are critically low and have continued to decrease,” reads the description. “In order for medical evacuation we need to get his haemoglobin levels to eight or more to legally have a medical evacuation back to Australia (Darwin or Gold Coast).”
The difficulty in finding treatment for Mark has been compounded by multiple factors: First is the the severity of his illness which, according to the GoFundMe, has led the Bali medical team to find it too risky to do any further invasive diagnostic procedures. Second is that Mark’s blood type, A negative, is rare and cannot be found in the local hospitals’ blood banks, according to Mark’s family. As a result, despite transporting blood from Australia, Mark still requires A negative blood from on-site donations in Bali. Finally, as the GoFundMe describes, “This has been a very frustrating situation with different cultures, language and technology. These past few days have been extremely frustrating for Mark and all of us not receiving any answers.”
The latest update came in last night, in which someone posted through Mark’s Instagram that “If we can get enough blood to raise his levels, they can get Mark on a Medevac flight back to Australia. A Negative – 8 Units of Blood Required.” Mark’s wife Bianca Richardson requested on social media that anyone looking to make a donation, “Please ensure [that you] use the Mark Richardson donation link to ensure he gets directly. He requires a lot so anyone you may know in Bali would be so needed. They can get their blood type tested if unknown.” She also added, “Thank you to all who are offering to donate in Australia however it cannot be sent.”
Mark is a beloved figure in the Australian surfing community. He won four Australian Surfing Championships and was a gold medalist in the masters division of the ISA World Masters Surfing Championships in 2011. Since then he has gone on to lead a successful coaching career, working with surfers such as Liam O’Brien, Callum Robson and Isabella Nichols. As such, there has been an outpouring of support from the surfing community, both on social media and his GoFundMe, with many commenters in Bali reaching out to find out how to donate blood of their own.
Mark’s GoFundMe, which also includes information on how to donate blood if you are in Bali and a match for his blood-type, can be found here.