The parents of a Sidley man who died earlier this month have started a campaign to raise funds for the hospital ward that cared for him in his final weeks.
Damon Alderson was 26 when he passed away on September 10, eight days short of his 27th birthday.
He had been living with MS (multiple sclerosis) for around 14 years having been diagnosed when he was just 13 years old.
His parents, Aaron and Allison Alderson, are raising money in his memory, to be donated to De Cham ward at the Conquest Hospital, where Damon was being cared for.
They said: “The fundraiser is for some equipment for De Cham ward. They’re fundraising for a bladder scanner but the money we raise can either go towards that or any general equipment they need – drip stands, bedding, anything that will make things better for staff and patients.”
Damon’s parents said his illness was always reasonably stable up until 18 months ago, when his health started to deteriorate rapidly.
They said: “In the space of several months he went from being reasonably active, mobile, independent and cognitive to completely reliant on us (his parents) and a personal assistant (a friend who had known Damon for many years, Jamie Curtis) for pretty much every aspect of his day to day care. Within 18 months he became wheelchair and bed bound, reliant on us to help him with feeding, bathing, moving and more, and cognitively he went from being clear and engaging to at times confused, frustrated and forgetful, although when he was clear he always had his sense of humour.”
Damon underwent a couple of courses of chemotherapy in a bid to get his MS back under control. However, in early August he was rushed to the Conquest Hospital, where he was found to have double pneumonia as a result of choking and swallowing problems that had increased over the past 18 months.
His parents said: “He was placed on De Cham ward where he became a bit of a star among the staff and doctors and with a lot of care and effort seemed to get over the pneumonia well, until it was found that he had re-acquired the infection and it had partially collapsed his right lung. Due to being so weak, and still suffering from both the infection and the effects of the chemotherapy, it was found there was nothing more that could be done to help him, which devastated us all. During the last few days we stayed with him 24/7 and he passed away peacefully with us and his sister Haley McArdell Alderson by his side.
“Damon was very much the type of person that would help people if he could, and having got along so well with the staff on the ward, we decided that if we could give back in his honour we would, hence the fundraiser. We would all like to say how much both we as Damon’s family appreciate all the care and hard work the staff at the hospital put into Damon’s care, but also how grateful Damon was also.
“We would also like to say how much we appreciate the level of care and attention the staff gave him, and how much it meant to us all, knowing Damon was in such good hands.”
Paying tribute to their son, Mr and Mrs Alderson said: “He was popular locally among neighbours and the community for his love of animals – he would spend a lot of time stroking people’s dogs or cats, and talking to them about their pets – and was the type of person who could talk to anyone and always make them laugh. He had a love of music, film and gaming mainly tabletop wargames like Warhammer 40k, Test of Honour and roleplay games like Dungeons & Dragons.”
To donate, visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/vhbwe-donate-for-damon.