Mark ended his account of his tremendous and inspiring battle against advanced malignant melanoma with his last optimistic Happy New Year post.
I now need to tell you the desperately sad news that Mark died on Thursday 19th January 2017. The last 16 days of his life were spent at The Royal Marsden Hospital where he received superb care.
On the 4th January Mark was given the news that there was no more treatment that could stabilise his cancer. When asked by one of his consultants if he would like to stay, he said confidently:
Why not? This is the best hospital in the world and I am your favourite patient. Why would I go anywhere else?
Mark always had the ability to draw people in and even in the last days of his life made a huge impact on everyone who met him for the first time having already had a profound effect on the melanoma team who have looked after him for 23 months. His closest friends came in to see him and between us all we made sure he never had time alone.
We as a family are in awe of Mark’s courage and selfless attitude until the very end when he was losing both sight and hearing. As a final example, Mark made a brave announcement on social media telling the world he was about to die and setting a target of raising £100,000 for Cancer Research UK. Within 24 hours the total rose from £73,000 to well over this figure and the fund is still rising.
I know he would want me to thank all of you; his friends, wider family and followers who have lived each minute of this with him.
Mark died in peace and dignity surrounded by love.
We, his family and Georgie are so grateful for the way the staff at the hospital enabled us to do something I never thought possible, to come away with beautiful memories of this final chapter of Mark’s life.
The blog will remain online. Mark worked hard in the last few months to write a book based on his blog entries and to also tell more of his story prior to February 2015. Please look in from time to time for updates. The book will be published by Poetry Space, my own company by the end of this year and I plan to do a great job for Mark. He wants the book to continue to enhance the message about cancer and melanoma in particular.
Sue Sims (Mark’s mum)
Georgie has asked for this message to be included here:
Watching my 28 year old fiancé cruelly robbed of his sight, hearing, swallowing, walking, speech, along with any chance of a future was heartbreaking and wrong. He still managed to be so caring of others around him, worrying that he had not replied to messages or that we would hurt our backs when we stretched his legs.
In his final hours he was surrounded by all of us, we held his hand and kissed him. He passed away and we sang his favourite songs to him with the music therapist and his guitar. These were songs that Mark had sung with the therapist when he was admitted to the Marsden in early January. Mark had requested ‘our song’, You and me by Lifehouse the song we would have had as our first dance to at our wedding. The music therapist learnt it and it was the last song we sang to Mark. This meant so much and I did not want to let go of his hand. We are devastated and it has not sunk in that I’ll never see him again.
Thank you so much for your messages, they mean the world to me and I am trying to reply to all of them.Mark really appreciated you all, and I am so proud of him and feel so privileged I got to spend the time with him that I did.We had amazing times and he would have had a beautiful future with a great career as a doctor. Cancer stole this from him. He was determined to raise as much awareness as possible to beat Melanoma (an aggressive form of skin cancer that affects too many young people) He has donated his body to research to help them find answers to beat this disease. He has written a book and he’ll continue to raise money for Cancer Research UK. I’ll never forget the memories and he will always be my hero.