The wife of a “loving and kind” dad who died after being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer has opened up on the legacy he left behind.
Stuart MacDonald was given the news he had lymphoma in both of his eyes in 2018 after experiencing pain and blurred vision.
The slow-growing cancer was treated with steroid injections to help restore his sight and he was able to return to work.
But he was dealt a devastating blow after discovering his agonising stomach pains turned out to be a lymphoma tumour in October 2021.
He began chemotherapy treatment but, when doctors told him the cancer had spread to his foot, he accepted he had months left to live. He died at home in June 2022 aged 60.
Jane told STV News: “He didn’t want treatment by the time the cancer appeared in other parts of his body. He felt he’d had his time and wanted to be at home if he could.
“I’m a very stoic, positive person and so is Ross, so it was important to keep spirits up.
“When he died, I was sort of prepared for it. We knew it was going to happen, but we didn’t think it would happen quite so quickly.”
Jane and Stuart worked together at an accountancy firm in the early 1990s and struck up a romance after a night of dancing at the annual work ball. They wed in 1995 and had son Ross in 1997.
She said: “He was a very kind, generous person. If he could do something for someone he’d have done it. He was that kind of person.
“He was a great dad, he was loving he was caring he touched many lives.”
Stuart, who worked as an accountant with ScottishPower for 25 years, was determined not to let cancer get in the way of achieving his goals.
He took on a series of fundraising efforts for Cancer Research UK – including a 10k in the Sands Ayrshire beach walk challenge in June 2021, which drummed up over £2,700.
His health journey prompted him to publish a book he had written on his experiences with depression, the first copy landing on his doormat just a fortnight before he died.
The lifelong Pollok FC fan also attended his 1,700th game with his son Ross, 26, on March 26, 2022.
When he was given news that his cancer was terminal, he met with a funeral director friend and a minister to plan a personal send-off.
Jane recalled Thornliebank Parish Church being “packed” as family, friends and colleagues came to say goodbye to Stuart for the last time.
His coffin was carried into the church to bagpipe lament Highland Cathedral and arranged to have one of his favourite songs, My Immortal by Evanescence, played.
“It was beautiful and he planned it all himself. He didn’t want a particularly religious ceremony.
“There were funny, uplifting parts and you could almost hear him saying the words. He didn’t want it to be mournful – he wouldn’t want it to be a sad day. It was a celebration of his life.”
Last month, Jane and Ross were invited to Edinburgh for Cancer Research UK’s annual Flame of Hope Awards to accept a posthumous honour for Stuart for his fundraising efforts.
She said: “I was gobsmacked. It was wonderful that he was recognised.
“He’d seen first-hand the incredible way that Cancer Research UK is dedicated to beating cancer through their research, influence and the information they provide and made it his mission to support them in any way he could.
“If there was a fundraiser, he’d be there, usually in some fancy dress, rallying the troops to raise as much money as possible and he was always willing to share his own story and lessons learned to raise awareness of the fundraising partnership, despite his own challenges.
“He was really touched to be the face of ScottishPower’s World Cancer Day campaign and have the chance to thank NHS workers who looked after him.”
Nine months on from Stuart’s death, Jane is trying to come to terms with her loss but is so proud of everything her husband achieved.
“He was a great person and we do miss him. Ross and I try to mention him in conversation at least once every day.
“Stuart wouldn’t want me to be in the doldrums – I have lots of friends and we regularly meet for lunch and coffee.
“Photos of him from a year ago pop up on my phone occasionally and at that point, you can’t believe he is gone.
“He really loved people and he dedicated himself to helping others. That’s how we remember him.”
View ScottishPower’s Cancer Research UK fundraising page.
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