THE family of a man who died after battling a rare disease is holding a fundraising cycle event in his memory.
Mark Rigby, of Kensington Road, Gosport, died in February this year, after fighting Goodpasture’s Syndrome – an uncommon, autoimmune disease that affects the kidneys and the lungs.
The father-of-eight had become increasingly unwell and was suffering from kidney failure, which he was receiving dialysis for, as well as chronic chest problems, at Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham.
He then made the decision to stop all treatment and passed away surrounded by his family.
His mum, Maureen, 82, of Lee-on-the-Solent, said: ‘I was with Mark right until the very end.
‘He knew he was getting worse and we could all see him deteriorating. I asked him if he was in pain and he said he was. I told him he could go if he wanted. I hated to see him suffer.
‘The next evening he passed away. My family said Mark was waiting for my permission to go. People said I was brave for telling him he could go – but Mark was the brave one.’
Goodpasture’s Syndrome causes the body to make antibodies that attack and damage the lining of the lungs and kidneys.
Initial symptoms include fatigue, chills, fever, nausea and vomiting, weight loss and chest pain.
Mark, 51, first became unwell in 2012 when he was diagnosed with a bug in his bloodstream, and was taken to hospital where he was told the bug had spread to his brain and heart.
He suffered two mini strokes and had to have a heart valve replacement because of it.
After initially making a recovery, Mark started to feel unwell again in March 2013.
He was visited by a doctor from the renal unit at QA, where he was told he was in renal failure and had to have dialysis three times a week.
Now in his memory, seven of Mr Rigby’s family members have signed up for a 45-mile charity bike ride, with proceeds going to QA.
His niece Gemma, 32, from Gosport, said: ‘Mark was an amazing father, uncle, brother and son. He was such a popular guy who was so well loved within the community.
‘You can’t go anywhere without someone that knows him and people have really got behind raising money in his memory.
‘We wanted to do something to aid the renal unit as they provided a high level of care throughout his time with them.’
The challenge takes place on May 24 and starts and ends at Mr Rigby’s favourite pub – the Queen’s Head in Gosport – at 8am.
To donate visit, justgiving.com/renalcharitybikeride