This story is part of the Guts UK Pancreatitis Awareness Campaign.
Mark Fillery’s Story
We are Kelly, Laura and Michelle and this is a story about our Dad, Mark Steven Fillery. Dad was a proud family man. He was married to our mother for 36 years. He was hard working and owned a very successful construction company. Dad was loved by everyone, he always put others first and was the most selfless person that we knew. He brought laughter and smiles to every place he went.
He was generally a very well person, too. He had had a hip replacement in February this year and was recovering at home and in good spirits. On the morning of Friday 13th April 2018 Dad was taken to hospital via ambulance after an uncomfortable night. He was in complete agony, his sugar levels were through the roof and his tummy was swollen. I went to hospital to visit him and he really didn’t look well and wasn’t fully aware of what was going on. Doctors did lots of tests and he was then taken to intensive care, where his sodium levels reached near fatal levels. Thankfully this was resolved and Dad started his fight. We still weren’t 100% sure what the issues were until they told us that Dad had acute pancreatitis. This was caused by a small gallstone blocking the bile duct to the pancreas. Unfortunately they could not operate as he was not well enough and would not survive any operations at that time.
Dad’s care and treatment varied depending on the doctor he saw and we felt this was a condition they knew little about. Finally in June Dad was transferred to another hospital in London. Dad underwent many different operations and procedures and spent a lot of time in intensive care. We knew that this was going to be a lengthy recovery period but we were determined to get through it, no matter how long it took. In the end it took four long months in hospital, with many tears and emotions shared. Dad faced daily and weekly challenges and felt like he was climbing a huge mountain, only to be told that he was falling back down again. However our Dad fought every fight and clung to the rocks that were conspiring against him.
Our Dad Mark passed away after a four month battle to acute pancreatitis. He also had bed sores and we were told he had sepsis. Pancreatitis was an illness that we knew, and had heard, very little about. We did the usual Google searches and tried to educate ourselves and understand the illness but all that did was make us panic and ask lots of questions. After four long months, two different hospitals, and seeing different doctors daily we began to understand exactly what this illness does to people and why things happened as they did. We have witnessed that pancreatitis kills people and that it took our Dad in its path. We, as a family, are extremely proud of the fight that our Dad put up to beat this illness but even the strongest man we know succumbed to its presence.
We found Guts UK while doing some online research and have since raised donations from Dad’s funeral and will be running in the half Marathon next year. In the summer we will also be hosting a Golf dinner and dance in our Dad’s memory with all proceeds going to Guts UK to keep up all the hard work they are doing to help families like ours. With Love from Kelly, Laura and Michelle x
What can you do?
Join in our Kranky Panky Weekend fun and fundraise for more pancreatitis research with Guts UK. Check out some of our fun ideas here!
Guts UK is proud to fund the only fellowship into pancreatitis in the UK. However, one fellowship every three years is not nearly enough for this potentially deadly condition with no specific treatment. We need to do more. Help Guts UK fund more research to find a treatment for pancreatitis by donating today.