A heartbroken family have paid tribute to a doting father and loving partner after he lost his brave battle with cancer.
Terry MacDonald lived his life to the full and idolised his fiancée Lindsey Carlson and their two boys Kai, 11, and Finn, five.
But their world was turned upside down six months ago when he was diagnosed with cancer.
The 37-year-old fought courageously against his condition but sadly passed away just days before Christmas.
He died peacefully at his home, in Penwood Road, Sunderland at 6.45am on December 17, with his fiancée of 14-years and his mum Olwyn by his side.
The keen SAFC football fan had been allowed home the day before from Sunderland Royal Hospital where he had been receiving treatment after telling doctors he wanted to be at home.
“When he was discharged from hospital the night before, the doctors told us he might not make the journey home,” said Lindsey.
“But this is where he wanted to be.
“We just held his hand and told him how much we loved him, he took three short breaths then he was gone.
The couple had known each other for many years through Terry’s sister Stephanie, but it wasn’t until they were both at her birthday party when he persuaded his sister to introduce them to one another.
Described as a “bit of a charmer” by his family, he had taken an instant shine to Lindsey and eventually they became a couple.
Within six months, the award-winning Sky salesman had dropped to one knee and proposed.
The couple went on to have two sons Kai and Finn, who have both been left devastated by their dad’s death.
“We just keep asking why Terry? He had so much to live for,” said Lindsey.
“Kai is just like his dad and at the moment he seems to be taking it in his stride, but they are both heartbroken.
“Finn keeps asking when can he go and see his dad in heaven, he thinks he will be able to visit him. All he wants is a proper kiss and cuddle off him - it’s heartbreaking.
“He was such a great dad and he treated me like a princess - we just feel lost without him.”
Terry had been diagnosed with cancer on June 2 after returning from a family holiday to Lara Beach in Turkey at the end of May.
By this time, the cancer had spread throughout his body and medics broke the news to the couple it was both “inoperable” and “incurable.”
Lindsey added: “The doctors took us into a room and told us the cancer had spread throughout his body, but they couldn’t tell the primary source as it was so advanced.
“They told us there was no cure. They gave him chemotherapy but it nearly killed him - but he fought back. He didn’t want to leave us.”
As the cancer took hold, Terry became more and more dependant on the mother of his two children.
Unable to enjoy one last holiday together, they visited Albert Docks in Liverpool to the spot where he had bought a ‘lock of love’ years earlier as a sign of his devotion to Lindsey.
His sister Stephanie said: “I never thought I would see the day when he would move out of home and settle down.
“He was such a charmer but when he met Lindsey, everything changed. She was definitely the one for him.”
His mum Olwyn said: “He was such a happy person who loved life and he was never down.
“When he was diagnosed with cancer it was such a shock, he was never ill, he never smoked and he kept himself fit. He never moaned about anything.
“Lindsey has been fantastic and my sister Kathleen has been great travelling up from Aylesbury to help with his care.
“He was such a good-looking boy and was so popular. He was so brave right until the end. We all miss him.”
The family have requested family flowers only with donations in lieu to the Bobby Robson Foundation.
The charity had offered to fund treatment for Terry in a bid to help prolong his life.
However, Terry died before he had the chance to receive it.
The family would like to thank everyone at Sunderland Royal Hospital for their care and support, including the ambulance crew, and staff at the Phoenix unit. They also thanked the staff at Millfield Medical Centre for their help.
A service will be held at St Thomas Church in Pennywell tomorrow at 11am, followed by cremation at Sunderland Crematorium.
Terry leaves behind fiancée Lindsey, sons Kai and Finn, mum Olwyn and dad William, and sister Stephanie.