Damien started suffering from headaches every time he played sport and this led to an astrocytoma diagnosis in the summer of 2012. After the initial shock, Damien was determined not to let cancer take centre stage in his life and in the life of those around him.
Surgery took place in September of that year to remove as much of the tumour as possible, followed by radiotherapy and chemo. He maintained a strong mental attitude that helped not only him, but also his family and friends. His ability to help others cope with the magnitude of his illness was his very own special gift.
He responded well to treatment and regular check-ups confirmed the tumour was stable.
Damien’s charismatic personality did not fade and he continued doing the things he loved the most: bringing family and friends together, be it by organising trips abroad, nights out, or simply watching a football match. His excitement was contagious and you would be looking forward to an evening of Champion’s League matches on TV, even if you could not stand football yourself!
Although he was based in London he came to Scotland, where he was born, as often as he could to visit family and friends.
Needless to say, as any cancer patient will tell you, there are bad days, when morale is low and you need the love, care and support of others. Damien’s solid network of family, friends and colleagues never let him down, as he remarked tearfully on many occasions.
His wonderfully sharp sense of humour and his ability to put things into perspective helped him to cope with innumerous difficult situations throughout the course of his illness.
Damien was protective of those he loved, caring and quick-witted. He was well-versed in a wide range of topics, from football and tennis to politics and the environment.
He possessed a well-defined social conscience and more often than not, he supported the underdog. However, Damien didn’t suffer fools gladly and you knew where you stood with him.
Despite this shattering, life-changing news, Damien’s determination to fight the disease and live a normal life did not waver, although some of his much loved activities, like playing football and squash, were out of bounds.
Life and work carried on pretty much the same for him, albeit rather conscious and with an awareness of the perilous situation. Even though he was scared and anxious, it didn’t stop him from planning for the future. He was going to move to a new part of London to be near his cousins and he was looking forward to a Liam Gallagher gig in June followed by a trip to Lisbon.
In February 2018, Damien started having relentless headaches, which did not respond to the strongest painkillers, as well as visual and motor difficulties. This scenario culminated in emergency surgery being carried out for a third time. His oncologist, Dr Alison Falconer from Charing Cross Hospital, to whom we are eternally grateful, was crucial in pursuing this course of action. This was life-saving surgery, which literally bought him some extra time. However, after a couple of weeks, Damien’s condition continued to deteriorate and he died on the 4th of April 2018. He was only 35 years old.
Glioblastoma is the most aggressive type of brain cancer and, as a family, we have decided that the money raised by this fund should go towards research devoted to finding a cure for this devastating illness.
No family should endure what we have been through and no human being should have to suffer as much as Damien did. We have been denied so much and he has been denied his life.
Please help us to raise money and awareness to stop this cruel and debilitating disease in its tracks.