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How we remembered my father on our wedding day

Matt and Kat came up with a special way to commemorate his father, who died from IPF, at their wedding reception.

Matt and Kat stand in front of the special bar they built in memory of Matt's dad.

While planning our wedding, my dad’s health was failing. With every passing week it was becoming clearer that he would not be able to make it. My dad was such a massively important part of both of our lives, so we knew that we had come up with a way of including him in our special day.

Together, we thought that one way of doing this would be to raise money for the British Lung Foundation, so other families in the same situation as ours could receive their special support or benefit from the research they fund. We thought this would be a very fitting tribute to him.

Inspiration struck

When my dad was well enough to leave the house, we used to enjoy going for a pint together every Thursday for a catch up and a laugh. It was these special memories that inspired our unique way of commemorating him.

As a joiner, I knew that I would be able to build a special bar at our wedding reception dedicated to him. I called it the Turk’s Head, a reference to my dad’s mother, my Grandma, who originally came from Turkey.

The Turks Head sign made for their custom bar.

Our Thursday-night local very kindly donated barrels of beer for us to pour from the bar in honour of my dad, with all proceeds going to the BLF. Everyone was very generous, and one person even gave £20 for their pint!

Kat pouring a pint at the bar.

The diagnosis devastated us

When my dad was diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) all the family were devastated, especially when he was given just two-to-five years to live. Thankfully he battled the disease for 11 years.

Although things got harder over the years, we still managed to power on as a family and enjoy the good times, laughs and celebrations. Even though the disease was debilitating, dad still wanted to live his life and enjoy the time we had together.

We believe there were two reasons he was able to live so much longer than was expected. First was the great support from Aintree University Hospital in Liverpool, who we are very thankful for.

He was also a member of a brass band for many years, playing the biggest bass in the band, even when he had his oxygen machine at his side (some people joked he was cheating!). The doctors said that exercising his lungs so much helped to slow the damage in the same way that exercise does.

Why everyone should support the BLF

I think it’s massively important that people choose the BLF when thinking of a charity to raise money for. The work they do is so important and needs funding to achieve.

There are so many ways of raising money for this amazing charity, from doing a sponsored run to hosting a big breakfast or doing a one-off special event like us. Collectively, even with small donations, we can all make a massive difference.

Fundraise for the BLF

Do you have a story to tell? It could be about your lung condition, a friend or relative you know who lives with one, or how caring for them impacts your life. We'd love to hear what you've got to say!

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5 February 2020