Family of terminally-ill grandad 'overwhelmed' by Portsmouth's response to their heartwarming hospital fundraiser

THE family of a beloved grandfather diagnosed with terminal cancer have told how they have been left ‘blown away’ after the community rallied to support their hospital fundraiser.

Wednesday, 1st September 2021, 12:06 pm

With medics giving the Royal Navy veteran just weeks to live, his family set about a desperate attempt to finally give him and his long-term partner of 40 years, Jane, the chance to have a fairy tale wedding.

The effort was made possible thanks to the neurology team at Queen Alexandra Hospital, who arranged for marriage paperwork to be rapidly pushed through and a special licence to be granted.

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Sasha Clarke pictured with sisters Hayley, right, and Hannah, left, as they hand in a charity cheque to Queen Alexandra Hospital's neurology department.

It meant that Hilsea Shell garage manager Jonathan was able to marry his beloved partner Jane at their home on July 19.

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The family was so taken aback by hospital’s effort that they wanted to say thanks. Springing to action, they issued a fundraising plea to the community - one that was answered in spades.

In a matter of weeks, the family raised an incredible £3,460, which they presented to the neurology department on Tuesday.

Jonathan Allison, who has terminal brain cancer, marries his partner Jane of 40 years. Pic Sasha Clarke Submitted August 22, 2021

Jonathan’s daughter, Sasha Clark, presented the cheque alongside her sisters, Hayley and Hannah. They hope it will fund a family room at the neurology department.

Sasha, 34, of Paulsgrove said: ‘We were really blown away. We never expected the whole community to give so much.

‘My dad is overwhelmed. He really didn’t expect us to raise as much.He is not a man to cry but you can see the tears in his eyes. He was just so thankful to everyone.’

Sasha hoped a new family room would provide an intimate and dignified space for families to hear heartbreaking news about terminal illnesses

She added her family had been devastated by the hammer blow of her dad’s terminal diagnosis.

‘We felt like our worlds had ended in a matter of minutes,’ she said. ‘My dad is our king. He is the life and soul of the family. He is the head of the family. Now the roles have turned.

‘We’re now looking after our dad. It’s awful. It really is. It’s like you’re grieving for someone that’s alive.’

The family hoped to raise awareness of brain cancer in a bid to help other people to recognise early symptoms - which for Jonathan included forgetfulness and difficulty moving his right leg.

Sasha added she had been blown away by her dad’s courage and said: ‘He is a very strong man. He is still fighting. He has accepted everything that has happened but he is living for the moment. It’s hard to see it but it’s amazing how he has handled it.‘

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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