David’s Story

This is David's pancreatitis story, as told by his family.

Dad was a larger-than-life character at 6ft tall, blue-eyed and blonde-haired. His smile could brighten anyone’s day. Dad’s passion for sport ran throughout his life. Our dad was a retired PE teacher who taught children with special educational needs. He always fought to ensure that they had the best of experiences, and loved taking his students on trips away.

Quite suddenly, Dad fell ill with symptoms of sickness, which we thought were down to something he had eaten. But it became clear that dad’s health wasn’t improving. He had gone about his day as normal, but then developed severe abdominal pain. It became so bad that our mum, Beverley, took dad to A&E on the 22nd March 2021.

After several tests, dad was diagnosed with pancreatitis that was caused by gallstones. We were told it would be a long road to recovery, with lots of ups and downs. We could never have prepared for what happened.

Dad’s condition kept deteriorating and eventually he had to be moved into intensive care at a specialist hospital. After a couple of days, he seemed to have improved and was moved back to a ward again.

The 13th April 2021 was dad’s 70th birthday. On this day, mum was thankfully able to see dad for an hour due to restricted visiting. He was on the main ward on this day, and was awake so they were able to talk.

The next day, dad took a massive turn for the worse and went back to intensive care and was fully ventilated. Sadly, one month after he was taken into hospital, our dad lost his fight with pancreatitis. He passed away peacefully with mum right by his side.

As a dad of five kids, he was the best. He couldn’t do enough for us and would always be there as support whenever we needed it. Mum and dad were true soulmates. They shared a wonderful life together. Our dad made our mum laugh every single day, usually at his expense!

Six months on, we are still struggling with how dad could go from being so well and full of life one day, to being struck down with such devastating effect. It happened so suddenly. We never realised that pancreatitis could be such a horrible disease.

In the days after dad’s passing, we read Guts UK’s Kranky Panky stories. These stories from families we’d never known or met completely mirrored our family’s story. We found comfort in knowing that we were not alone in experiencing such a devastating loss. Dad would have loved the Kranky Panky idea!

As a coach, dad encouraged respect, dedication and commitment with the young people he worked with. Our family received many messages of support that showed just how much dad meant to them, and how they had kept these values in their lives. He had such a huge impact on so many people’s lives.

Since dad dedicated his life to helping others, we wanted donations in his memory to go to Guts UK charity.

We have raised over £3,000 for Guts UK and we hope that by continuing to raise money in his memory, this can go towards much needed further research, information and awareness for pancreatitis. We hope that other families won’t have to suffer the same tragedy.

"We hope that by continuing to raise money in his memory, this can go towards much needed further research, information and awareness for pancreatitis." - David's family

There is no effective treatment for pancreatitis. There is no cure.

Guts UK is the only UK charity funding a research fellowship into pancreatitis. We are dedicated to finding an effective treatment, a cure for this misunderstood and underfunded condition.

People are suffering, people are dying, all because of a lack of knowledge about our guts. Join our community and champion our cause by donating to our life-saving research today.

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