A Gold Coast tradesman who married the love of his life at a hospital courtyard after he was diagnosed with a life-threatening brain tumour, has died.
Casey Townsend, of Burleigh Heads, passed away early Sunday morning surrounded by his wife and family.
The young father-of-three had been battling a series of health complications, including two heart attacks, after suffering a stroke last year.
Mr Townsend’s grieving wife Sharna, 30, revealed he succumbed to his illnesses after his heart ‘slowed down and failed’.
‘He was so amazing, a real fighter, and the most genuine and beautiful man I’ve ever known’, she told the Gold Coast Bulletin.
‘I’m trying to stay strong for the kids but also nurture them because they know Daddy has gone to heaven’.
Earlier this month, Mrs Townsend told Daily Mail Australia her husband had been battling pneumonia.
She revealed the family even enlisted in the help of world-renowned brain surgeon Charlie Teo, but they ultimately ‘ran out of time’, according to the Gold Coast Bulletin.
The 32-year-old’s health battle began last September, when he arrived for a night shift at work and suddenly collapsed.
The collapse signified the start of an excruciating nine months which would see him suffer a heart attack so severe he was rendered clinically dead.
He was taken to Princess Alexandra Hospital where was put into an induced coma.
But when he failed to regain consciousness within an hour, as doctors had anticipated, further tests were conducted.
It was revealed Mr Townsend had suffered a stroke and was left unable to speak properly.
He also suffered from memory loss and poor hand-eye coordination.
But tragedy struck once again when just seven days later he suffered a second and much more severe stroke.
As a result of the stroke Mr Townsend needed to undergo urgent surgery to remove a blood clot from his brain.
Doctor’s warned it would be a risky operation but said Mr Townsend needed to take the risk in order to survive.
‘He got through it, but it broke my heart because he couldn’t talk or anything; that hard-working guy, who everyone wanted to be friends with, just looked at me and cried,’ Mrs Townsend told The Courier Mail.
In October, Mr Townsend was transferred to Gold Coast University Hospital where doctors delivered more horrific news.
Mr Townsend had a brain tumour.
Mrs Townsend, who became Mr Townsend’s full-time carer, said the couple married two days after the brain tumour diagnosis in the hospital courtyard.
She said she ‘knew’ she had to marry Mr Townsend because ‘she loves him to death’ and the couple didn’t know what could happen next.
‘Casey still finds it hard to watch our wedding video because he was struggling to talk and couldn’t stand securely but, seriously, I watch it over and over again. It’s so beautiful.
‘When I met Casey – in a nightclub in 2012 – I had just split from the father of my daughter, Sienna (now 7), and didn’t expect to fall hopelessly in love. He took on the role of dad so easily, and we went on to have Sonny (3) and Ellie (19 months); we were stoked with our little family,’ she said.
But just one week before Christmas, Mr Townsend was taken ill once again and subsequently suffered a heart attack.
Ms Townsend said she witnessed the harrowing moment her husband suffered a cardiac arrest and doctors performed CPR in a bid to save his life.
He survived. Only to suffer a second heart attack just moments later.
The second heart attack was so severe he heart stopped beating and he technically passed away.
Thankfully, doctors were able to restart his heart.
Following his life-saving operation, Mr Townsend was taken to Brisbane’s Prince Charles Hospital where, in yet another devastating blow, he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure.
Mr Townsend’s only hope to survive was to get a heart transplant.
But in a cruel twist of fate the immunosuppressant drugs needed to be taken before a transplant would cause his brain tumour to grow aggressively.
‘Casey is not well enough yet to get the tumour removed – his heart wouldn’t hold out under anaesthetic – so we are trying to make him stronger so that can happen first, and then the transplant, but it’s a slow process, and he is also battling pneumonia,’ Mrs Townsend said.
A GoFundMe page has been set up in order to help support Mr Townsend and his family.
‘Casey will be in hospital indefinitely as he requires rehabilitation and therapy to retrain his brain for his cognitive impairment, loss of memory, speech and communication skills and hand eye coordination,’ family friend Angie Katu wrote.
‘We are trying to do our bit to relieve the stress for Sharna by raising money to help their young family to pay their mortgage and bills, one less thing for Sharna to worry about.
‘We all know Case as the guy with the biggest smile, the guy that would do anything for his friends and family and even strangers, he’s always looking out for everyone now it’s time for us to help him.’
You can donate by visiting the Casey Townsend [and]family GoFundMe page.