Family tribute as Alnwick man, 49, loses long health battle that included a bilateral lung transplant in 2011

An Alnwick man has lost his long-standing battle with ill health at the age of 49.

Tuesday, 3rd March 2020, 4:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 4th March 2020, 10:32 am
Alan Wilkin with his wife, Kirsten, and children Fern and Jake.
Alan Wilkin with his wife, Kirsten, and children Fern and Jake.

Alan Wilkin, from Chapel Lands, passed away peacefully at home on Monday, March 2, with wife, Kirsten, and children, Jake and Fern, by his side.

In a heartfelt tribute, his family described him as ‘the funniest man to ever live, life and soul of the party; he lit up every room and space he occupied’.

After being diagnosed with an aggressive form of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis in 2010, Alan was put on the organ donation transplant list as a priority and, luckily, he received a bilateral lung transplant in January 2011.

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Before his transplant, despite becoming seriously ill, Alan carried on working as a heavy plant machine operator, taking his portable oxygen with him to work, desperate to provide for his family and keep normality as long as possible.

After the transplant Alan recovered well and was back home in three weeks and back to work after six months, delighted that he could walk up the bank to his machine and actually breathe without oxygen.

Unfortunately, around six months later there were signs of breathlessness again and after numerous tests and a biopsy it became evident that Alan had developed a secondary lung disease, Desquamative Interstitial Pneumonia.

There were numerous attempts at trying to stop the disease progressing and slow it down and to a certain extent this worked.

However, in 2012 Alan developed shingles and was seriously ill in hospital for almost 17 weeks.

He has battled against this disease since then, despite having to give up the job he loved and be dependent on oxygen 24 hours a day.

His family said: “There have been lots of ups and downs over the years but he always remained positive and had a strong will and determined mindset to fight the disease, with the support of his friends and family.

“Unfortunately, in October Alan became very ill with pneumonia and respiratory failure and spent over four months in hospital. Finally, he got home but, sadly, deteriorated quickly over the last week.

“We are all so grateful for the extra time we had with him – the most courageous human to ever exist!”