Wife's heartbreak as husband dies without meeting his baby boy
A grieving wife has shared her final moments with devoted husband who died days after the birth of their baby boy.
Dan Turnbull, of Castletown, Sunderland, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia – a rare form of cancer which requires immediate treatment - in January 2020.
The father-of-two died from complications following a bone marrow transplant in July before he had the chance to meet his newborn son.
The 29-year-old spent eight weeks in hospital after his diagnosis and fought the disease alongside his mum, Karen, 53, who had been diagnosed with incurable cancer the year before.
They both made it out of hospital in time for his wedding to Laura on March 7 – which had been brought forward after the couple, who were already parents to three-year-old Poppy, discovered she was pregnant with their second child.
Just two weeks after the wedding, Karen died.
Heartbroken, Dan continued his fight and was told by doctors he was in remission, but needed a bone marrow transplant to reduce the chances of the leukemia returning.
Laura, 23, said: “Lockdown meant we had a lot of family time together which was lovely, but he wasn’t able to see other members of his family.
“The transplant was meant to be the start of a brilliant new life.”
After the surgery Dan’s condition deteriorated and he was moved to the intensive care unit in early July.
Due to coronavirus restrictions, Laura was unable to be at his bedside until his final week – by which time Dan was heavily sedated and on a ventilator.
On Thursday, July 16, Laura was induced and gave birth to the couple’s baby boy, Archie.
Two days later, Laura was back at Dan’s bedside and on the evening of Saturday 18, the family were called back to the hospital and Dan died without meeting his son.
Laura said: "I was really not well after the birth. I was bent over his bedside all day but I wasn’t bothered I just wanted to be with Dan but I also wanted to be with Archie. It was just horrendous.
"I was talking to Dan and I’m sure he could hear me. He would twitch and he had a tear in his eye. I do believe he knew I was there.
"He was so looking forward to Archie’s arrival, we had everything planned.
"He was a total hands-on dad. He did everything for Poppy and me, he always put his family first and make us both laugh.”
The mum-of-two now has to come to terms with the reality of life without Dan.
She said: "I’ll always take Poppy and Archie to places we use to go together and they’ll have so many pictures of him.”
Nissan worker Dan played for Houghton Rugby Club and the club made a Guard of Honour for his funeral.
Dan’s brother Andy, 31, has been left devastated after losing both his mother and brother within a few months of one another.
He said: “Dan was such a family man. My mam was the same, everything was about family. She was over the moon when Poppy was born. She made it to Dan’s wedding which is where they did the gender reveal so she knew Dan and Laura would have a little boy and what they’d call him.”
Andy has also set up a Go Fund Me page to support Laura and Dan’s two children – and more than £5,000 was donated within 24 hours.
"It just shows he touched the lives of a lot of people,” added Andy.
To donate to the page www.gofundme.com/f/helping-LT