Devoted dad turns grief into keeping late wife's memory alive
THERE were tears of sadness followed by tears of joy when host Leanne Campbell talked about the nominees for the Courage Award at this year's Warrington Guardian Inspiration Awards.
Not least by the children of winner Russell Scanlon who were thrilled to see dad win – and they even went up on stage to help him collect the trophy.
Nine-year-old Keeva and Logan, who is seven, also encouraged their dad to give an acceptance speech for his award.
Russell, who lives in Winwick, paid tribute to his late wife Debbie, thanking her for giving him the courage to carry after her death.
He also praised fellow nominees Simon Caulfield and Vivienne and said that “listening to other people’s stories, makes you realise what people are going through every day”.
Forty-seven-year-old Russell has been faced with unimaginable grief following the loss of his wife Debbie just over a year ago.
In May 2020, Debbie was diagnosed with terminal bowel cancer and was told the devastating news that she had between 18 months and two years to live.
Debbie had been due to undergo a hysterectomy following years of suffering from endometriosis but scans before the surgery revealed masses in her bowel, pancreas and lungs.
Although she later underwent surgery to remove several tumours following chemotherapy, her health sadly declined.
In September 2021, the cancer had spread to her bone, and after Debbie collapsed at home two months later, doctors found three further brain tumours.
She died in Russ’ arms on December 18, 2021 aged 48, after developing a blood clot.
Since Debbie passed away, Russ has raised an incredible £40,000 for charity climbing mountains, riding bikes and jumping out of aeroplanes while raising awareness of cancer.
Read about our other Inspiration Awards winners here.
One of the many nominations we received for Russ called him “a real superstar” and “a truly remarkable man”.
The nomination said: “While most people would find it difficult to function, Russ has been an inspiration.
“He tries to give something back while facing unimaginable grief.
“He is making his late wife Debbie proud keeping her memory alive while being a fantastic dad and raising money for charity.”
Holding the hands of his two children on stage while he accepted the award from Steve McGuirk, Warrington and Halton NHS Trust Chairman, at The Village Hotel, Russell said: “Thank you to Keeva and Logan for giving me a reason to wake up every day, whether I want to or not!”
Highly commended by judges in this category were Simon Caulfield and Vivienne Driver.