Disabled father's desperate hunt for home for ill son

PUBLISHED: 13:42 12 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:01 06 May 2010

A DISABLED father is desperately trying to find a suitable flat in which he can care for his son who will soon be wheelchair-bound by cancer. Philip Cole, aged 37, of Wyedale, London Colney, recently learned that his son Kyle, aged 14, had the bone cancer

A DISABLED father is desperately trying to find a suitable flat in which he can care for his son who will soon be wheelchair-bound by cancer.

Philip Cole, aged 37, of Wyedale, London Colney, recently learned that his son Kyle, aged 14, had the bone cancer osteosarcoma and would need a wheelchair following an operation this coming April to remove a knee, ankle and leg bone.

But the pair live in a rented second-floor flat and because Philip was left paralysed down one side after a motorbike accident in 2005, he will not be able to get the wheelchair up and down the stairs.

Now he is trying to find a ground-floor flat before Kyle leaves Stanmore Hospital after the operation in mid-April.

He has asked St Albans District Council if they can find him a suitable place but they have put him on a waiting list, saying that until Kyle is actually wheelchair bound they cannot move the two any further up it.

Philip lost custody of Kyle to his son's mother when the couple split up around five years ago but he continued to live in Ireland after the separation.

In August last year, social services asked Philip to take over care of Kyle who wanted to leave the area. They moved to London Colney where Philip has friends and he took on the second-floor flat thinking that he would be able to cope with a healthy 14-year-old around.

But just after the New Year, Kyle was diagnosed with cancer and was told that he would not walk for a very long time after the operation.

Philip said it was heartbreaking because Kyle, a pupil at Nicholas Breakspear School, was such a keen sportsman playing football, rugby and doing long-distance running.

Doctors have said it is unlikely Kyle will be able to play sports again as he will have to have his leg bone replaced by a metal rod and will walk with a limp.

Kyle is currently undergoing chemotherapy at University College Hospital in London in preparation for the operation.

He is already having trouble walking upstairs and Philip thinks it is unlikely he will be able to find a private ground-floor flat prepared for disabled use by the time his son leaves hospital.

Numerous letters of support for the pair's plight have been sent to the council's housing department.

Philip said: "We are going through hell. I am really confused and lost to be honest. They seem to favour local applicants but I don't see why -- I have served in the army and now I just need some support from the Government."

A spokesperson for St Albans District Council was unable to say when father and son could move into another place because it depended on a suitable property becoming vacant.

But he pointed out that their application would be awarded the maximum 40 points because their flat could not be converted for disabled use

He commented: "Unfortunately Mr Cole does not have any local connection or time waiting points and so his application is not in a high position on the waiting list at the moment. However his position will be different after Kyle's operation because the property will not be suitable for their needs."

Because of Kyle's medical problems, the application would be discussed at a Housing Review Panel shortly, he added.

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