Bradley Payne’s father passed away May 2020. Here Bradley shares why his family set up a PSPA Tribute Fund for his dad.
We knew something was wrong with my dad’s health when he began to have balance problems during the summer of 2016. He was falling a lot, backwards, and quickly progressed to using walking aids from 2017 onwards, in order to still get about.
At first dad used a walker but after 12 months, and still being unsteady on his feet, he starting using a wheelchair in 2018, after a bad fall resulted in multiple bone breaks and a stay in hospital.
As his symptoms progressed, dad lost the strength in his arms and well as the ability to eat standard meals. Mum was his main carer and he largely stayed at home. But he was a very proud man, so refused to have a PEG fitted, and since he had problems eating, he lost around four stones during his illness.
When dad first started to be poorly, my parents were living in Essex. Unfortunately, due to the rareness of PSP, the healthcare professionals really struggled to diagnose what was wrong. Eventually, following multiple investigations, they discharged dad, saying there wasn’t anymore they could do to help. Needing an answer, my parents paid to see a private neurologist who suspected MSA.
My parents then moved to Devon to be closer to my sister, and dad’s healthcare really improved there. He had regular physio appointments and they tried a couple of different medications. Unfortunately, nothing seemed to help and dad’s symptoms just got worse.
It was in Devon, doctors started to mention PSP but dad’s diagnosis wasn’t fully confirmed until he passed away, from a pulmonary embolism, in May and they performed a post-mortem examination.
Since it took so long to get to the bottom of dad’s illness, he was really keen on raising awareness of PSP. Setting up a PSPA Tribute Fund for dad seemed like a great way to maintain his wishes, to raise awareness, as well as give people who were unable to attend dad’s funeral or send flowers, due to Covid-19 restrictions, a way of remembering dad and sharing their condolences.
Dad was really well thought of, and even though I only shared the Tribute Fund on my Facebook page, we were overwhelmed by how quickly we raised more than £2500, which is the target for gaining a tree in dad’s memory.
Knowing we’ve got a tree in memory of dad feels amazing, especially since it happened so quickly, and reading all the comments about how much dad was loved and appreciated, was of real comfort to us.
Now me, my mum and my sister, can visit the location where the tree is planted to reflect on dad’s life and relive fond memories.