A FAMILY has vowed to raise funds until a cure is found for a disease which took the life of a much-loved community figure and "true Cornishman".
Popular John Caddy died of severe acute pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas, earlier this month – a disease from which his family and hospital doctors expected he would recover.
The healthy dad of two and grandfather, of Emlyn Field, collapsed suddenly on January 2.
John, a volunteer with the Charlestown National Coastguard Institution and life member of Charlestown Rowing Club, spent three weeks in an induced coma at the Royal Cornwall Hospital, Treliske, during which time his 70th birthday, on January 9, passed.
His family kept a bedside vigil and all doctors could do was stabilise his organs with kidney dialysis, life support and a cocktail of medication. John began to recover but his family were dealt a heart-wrenching loss when, on February 2, John lost his fight.
John's devastated widow Jean, 69, said he was a hardworking, softly spoken and respected "true Cornishman" who was devoted to his family, friends and the sea.
She said: "He was very committed to everything he did. Once he started something, he carried it through. He didn't think he was anything special, he was just John. Everything he did was to help other people.
"Everybody loved him and nobody ever had a bad word to say about John, I think to be able to leave this world with people thinking that much of you, well that's pretty good."
More than 400 people attended his funeral at St Paul's Church, Charlestown.
In the wake of the tragedy, John's family has pledged to help others struck down by the disease in his memory.
Medical professionals do not know exactly what triggers the swelling in the pancreas cells and to date nothing has been found to stop the inflammation.
The family's massive fundraising campaign will initially aim to raise £50,000 for the charity Core, which is funding medical research into the illness and its treatment.
In the past week the fund has topped more than £2,000.
Daughter Michelle Hume, 44, said: "I cannot believe that we can put a man on the moon but we cannot treat this."
The family also hopes its efforts will raise awareness of the condition.
Jean said: "If we can do this it will be a lasting legacy to John."
Most of the money already raised has been from the close-knit community rocked by John's death.
Michelle said: "Ultimately, we're going for a cure and we will keep fundraising until that happens. If we're able to contribute in some small way so that somebody else doesn't have to go through what dad did, then we will have achieved our goal."
The family has set up a fundraising page at www.just giving.com/johncaddy and a series of fundraising events are planned. Memorial Cornish tartan ribbon pins, designed by John's niece Hayley Harvey, are also available.
In April Holly Caddy, who is married to John and Jean's son Tim, 38, is running the Dig Deep 5km at Siblyback Lake in memory of her father-in-law.
Michelle added: "We'd like to say a huge thank you to everybody who has contributed so far."
Text CORE70 and the amount to 70070 to help.