Mum left to raise kids alone as husband dies unable to get new liver in pandemic
A devastated mum has been left to raise her three children alone after losing her husband amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Rob Wood had landed his dream job in the Executive Club at Manchester United and was married to wife Jenny, with who he had a six-year-old daughter Caitlin and 19-month-old twin boys Freddie and Archie, Manchester Evening News reports.
He was born with Glycogen Storage Disease, a rare genetic condition that affects the way the body stores sugars, resulting in liver damage and physical disability but despite his condition he led a full life.
Rob had been on the liver transplant list and was under the care of several hospitals in Manchester, London and Birmingham, but when the coronavirus pandemic hit the UK, his appointments were postponed or carried out by phone.
His health deteriorated and he experienced acute pain near his liver, but his family say the absence of face-to-face appointments with his specialists meant that health professionals didn’t initially recognise his symptoms were connected to his disease, which affects only a handful of people in the UK.
It was in September when his liver failed quite suddenly with what is called a burst varices.
He was rushed to hospital from work – where he looked after the club's VIPs and sponsors – underwent urgent surgery and was placed in intensive care.
At that point it wasn’t possible for him to have a transplant and he was placed in a medically induced coma, one which he never came out of.
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He died on September 28, age 34.
Wife Jenny, also 34 and a teacher at Benchill Primary School in Wythenshawe, is still trying to come to terms with her loss and the hole Rob's death has left in all their lives.
She said: "Our lives have been turned upside down in the most brutal way.
I feel like I have lost my identity overnight, having built my adult life with Rob since we were 18.
"It breaks my heart knowing that Rob is not able to see our kids changing, growing and learning new things.
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"Rob was an amazing daddy, besotted with our children.
"I feel devastated for them and myself that he has been ripped from our lives." She added: "Caitlin had an incredibly strong bond with her daddy, she was a true daddy’s princess. She misses her daddy immensely and says so every day."
Because of his long-term health condition, Rob was unable to get health insurance, so Jenny's sister Emily Peasgood has launched a fundraising campaign to give the family some financial support.
Emily said: "They do not have a lot of money and Jenny does not want the children to struggle.
"The twins were only born last year.
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"Jennifer is unable to grieve because she is so worried about money. She just needs a breathing space."
The Crowdfunder has so far topped £6,000, which Emily says will "give the family some stability in the coming months", but as it "will only support the children for a very limited time", she hopes people will dig deep for someone who 'spent his life caring for and helping others'.
Rob was just six years old when he joined St John's Ambulance Brigade and went on to join the British Red Cross, where as a teenager he was awarded the accolade of the Red Cross First Aid Shield.
During his career at Manchester United, he also served as a first aider.
In 1998 John Major presented him with a Child of Achievement award for the bravery and determination he showed to get the most out of life and to reach his full potential.
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On the contributions received so far, Jenny, who lives in Urmston, said: “I am truly touched by the generosity of people who have donated so far.
This will help me give my children some opportunities in life that Rob and I always planned for them.
It means so much that people – strangers to friends and family – have been so kind." Despite Jenny's financial worries, after Rob's funeral – which passed by Manchester United's Old Trafford ground – she raised almost £2,500 in his name for charities he supported.
In the fundraiser that Emily has shared online, she said the biggest love after his family was Manchester United.
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