The family of a “car-mad” dad has urged more people to register as bone marrow donors following his death aged just 51.
Michael Breen, known as Mickey or Mike, died at Ninewells Hospital following a seven-and-a-half year battle with T-cell lymphoma.
He is survived by mum Cynthia, sister Shona, sons Michael, 29, and Paul, 27, and his partner Debbie.
Floor-layer Mike, from Craigie, had been given just two months to live in October 2015 before undergoing a bone marrow transplant the following April.
His family said if it wasn’t for the transplant he would not have enjoyed his extra years of life and met Debbie, also 51.
Debbie and Michael had met online just weeks before he was told he had two months to live. But after his transplant Mike was well until a relapse in May this year.
Younger sister Shona, who accompanied Mike to all his appointments at the Beatson Centre, in Glasgow, and Ninewells Hospital, said: “Without that bone marrow donor Debbie wouldn’t have even had a relationship with him.
“He was really happy with her.”
Michael added: “The bone marrow did give us an extra few years that we wouldn’t have had.”
“He was a lovely, lovely man,” said Debbie. “We just had fun together. It wasn’t long enough.”
Speaking about how Mike battled his illness Shona said: “He always played it down, right to the end.
“He didn’t like being attached to the hospital. Throughout it I never saw him shed a tear.
“There were occasions he would say ‘I need to go’ and that’s when I thought he was really ill. He just wouldn’t say anything unless he was really ill.”
Every member of Mike’s family has registered as potential bone marrow donors, and explained how a simple swab could potentially save or prolong someone’s life.
Shona said: “I don’t think people realise how easy it is and they really do need men under 30 especially to come forward.
“It’s a wee cotton bud, you’ve got to wipe it on the inside of your cheek for 30 seconds. People want to donate organs when they pass away, but they can actually save a life by doing this while they’re alive.”
Michael said: “To be on the register is just a swab.”
Describing his father, Michael said: “He loved the seaside. He loved looking at cars to buy.
“Music was a big part of his life.
“He liked to laugh at his own jokes – he’d like to make up his own jokes and he’d be the first one to laugh at them.”
“He was good at his job.
“He travelled all over and even went as far as the Caribbean.”
Younger brother Paul added: “He liked the simple things in life. He kept his humour.”
Cynthia said: “He was a character, he was always joking.
“He was car-mad. He loved going to St Andrews with Debbie, even just staying there for the weekend.”
Kristina Stephen, Mike’s daughter-in-law, said: “He was full of life and you could always get a good laugh with him.
“He said he was a swimmer but he couldn’t swim. He kept that lie up for years. He liked Only Fools and Horses and he kind of reminded me a bit of Del Boy. We feel robbed – he did do a lot in his life but he had so much more to live for.”
Michael added: “We’d like to say thank-you to Dr David Meiklejohn and all the NHS staff who cared for him.”
Mike’s funeral will take place at the Dundee Congregational Church, Constitution Road, on Tuesday at 11.15am. All family and friends are invited.
The interment will take place at Pitkerro Grove Cemetery at noon. No formal dress code is requested.