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‘We’re happy dad’s final days were so peaceful’: Campbell Family to raise funds for hospice

Susan Campbell, and her family, husband Stephen and sons Matthew (9), and Gregory (11). The family are taking part in a charity run called the Bubble Rush, raising money for The prince and princess of Wales Hospice, as Susan's father, John Downie, spent time their before he died. (Andrew Cawley)
Susan Campbell, and her family, husband Stephen and sons Matthew (9), and Gregory (11). The family are taking part in a charity run called the Bubble Rush, raising money for The prince and princess of Wales Hospice, as Susan's father, John Downie, spent time their before he died. (Andrew Cawley)

IT was a turbulent time for Susan Campbell and her family.

Within the space of a few days, she moved house, saw her sons start a new school and, tragically, lost her dad after a terminal cancer diagnosis.

“In isolation, each of these were big events, but together, it was just crazy,” said Susan, who lives in Glasgow with husband Stephen and sons Gregory, 11, and Matthew, nine.

“Still, somehow we came out of the other side and are still smiling.

“My dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer, we moved house the following day and he died four days later.

“Dad’s funeral was the following Friday and the boys started a new school on the Monday.

“Looking back I’m amazed we got through it but I suppose you just do because you have to.”

Susan’s dad, John Downie, was a fit and healthy pensioner until March last year when he suffered a stroke.

He ended up staying in hospital for 11 weeks and, during a routine scan, medics uncovered a tumour on John’s lungs.

They diagnosed terminal cancer which had already spread.

John was moved to the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice for palliative care, and some comfort in his final days.

“It was such a shock to lose my dad so soon,” said Susan, a patient support worker. “But he died a pain-free and comfortable death.

“I know a lot of people have had a terrible time at the end of their life, but I don’t feel that with dad.

“We felt happy about how he spent those final moments. When he left us, he was at peace.

“Everything that could have been done for him in his last few days was done for him.

“We just had no idea of how to care for someone at the end of their life, but the specialist staff here were excellent and knew how to make sure dad was comfortable.

“All in all, the hospice was just amazing.”

The Campbell family held a collection at John’s funeral for the hospice.

And later this month, they will boost their donation even further by taking part in the Bubble Rush at Glasgow’s Bellahouston Park – where a new hospice is set to open next year.

The event, on April 30, is a fun run with a difference.

Pumps are positioned along the 5k route to send out coloured bubbles.

“I think it’s going to be amazing fun,” said Susan.

“And a great way to spend a day as a family.

“It would have been my dad’s 80th birthday on May 9, so it’s a great thing to do to celebrate and remember him – and to raise awareness about the hospice too.

“A lot of people don’t realise it’s a charity kept going by donations – and it’s such a worthwhile cause.”

To support the Campbells in their quest, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/Susan-Campbell25. To sign up for the Bubble Rush, visit https://goo.gl/eszurk