New dad from Ipswich died within a year of having the baby he and his wife had longed for
- Credit: Archant
Tributes have been paid to a new dad from Ipswich who died just a year after the birth of the child he had always dreamed of.
Mike Ginn, a teacher at Hillside Primary School, was diagnosed at the age of 28 with leukaemia, just 10 weeks after the birth of his daughter Hope.
Mike and his wife Fiona had tried for a baby for five years, including unsuccessful IVF treatment, when they discovered Fiona was expecting.
Throughout the last 12 months of his life Mike wrote an online blog, a daily record of what was on his mind, that has been read by more than 10,000 people.
Fiona, 31, a fundraiser at St Elizabeth Hospice, said her husband was a truly inspirational person.
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“He was my best friend and my soul mate,” she said.
“It is so sad what has happened and the fact that Hope and I are on our own now, but he has left such an amazing legacy.
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“There are so many things Hope can read about her dad - we have videos and memory books we have created together for her.
“He had so many different friends and a close family who cared deeply about him, he was a really well-liked guy.”
Mike was a keen sportsman, playing football two or three times a week, as well as golf at the weekends.
He played for Sporting 87 Football Club in Bury St Edmunds for several years and was manager of the adults A Team until the beginning of the 2016/17 season, when he received his diagnosis.
He was also imvolved in training youngsters in the beautiful game.
In March last year Mike found a lump on his neck so went to see his GP, but was told it could be stress related so continued his normal life.
Four months later he found another lump in his groin so again went to his GP thinking it was a hernia.
Following a biopsy on July 28, just days before the couple’s wedding anniversary, Mike was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
He immediately began chemotherapy and by the end of November was told he was in complete remission.
But doctors then discovered some of Mike’s bone marrow cells had mutated, which meant he needed a bone marrow transplant.
A donor was then found a month later.
“When he came out he seemed to be OK and was slowly recovering,” said Fiona.
“We were talking about the future and maybe a phased return to work.”
But a test 100 days after the transplant revealed Mike was having a relapse.
Fiona said: “Just before our wedding anniversary, exactly a year after his diagnosis, we received news he was going to be going into a palliative care. They couldn’t do anything for him.
“In the weeks before his passing, the hospital kindly supported us with a donation to have a get away at Hintlesham Hall, we got the bridal suite for our anniversary.
“Our faith being so important to us as a couple, we wanted to go to a Christian retreat in Wales.
“We travelled down and he seemed fine, but managed to pick up an infection because his body had no immune system so we had to come home sooner than expected.
“He was put on the Somersham Ward for one night and was then transferred to St Elizabeth Hospice on Monday, August 8.
“I work at the hospice as a fundraiser, I had been there four years before any of this was going on. I never thought I would be on this side, with Mike as a patient.
“At that point he was able to have conversations with people, but you could see he was deteriorating.”
Fiona said Mike remained positive throughout, finding peace in his final days.
“A consultant came to us two days before he died and said he had little chance of recovery,” she said.
“Mike said to him ‘it is what it is. Fiona and I have been talking about it for a long time, I feel totally at peace’.
“He died on August 23, eight years ago to the day of us first getting together as a couple.
“Mike was really at peace about it all.
“We had so many discussions and hard conversations you never expect to have.
“We were determined to make sure that in the last two or three weeks we would do what we could to enjoy the time we had.”
A celebration of Mike Ginn’s life will be held at Colchester Road Baptist Church on September 15 at 11am. Any donations will go into a fund for Hope’s future.
To read Mike’s blog see here.