A YOUNG father from Portlethen who lost his leg to cancer last August has died.
Stephen Kleszyk (28), who grew up in Stonehaven, was forced to postpone his September wedding to fiance Kirsty Curley when he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer after developing a lump on his foot following his stag weekend in Blackpool last May.
He was told that amputation was the only option and went ahead with the operation. Stephen left hospital just six days after losing his leg, despite being told he would spend six weeks there.
Friends and family rallied round and a series of fundraising events, including a sponsored walk, football tournament, black tie event and sponsored bungee jumps were held throughout September and October to raise money towards a new artificial limb for Stephen.
An astonishing response from local people, who was well known in Portlethen and Stonehaven, saw £35,000 raised to ‘Support Stephen Kleszyk’.
Sadly Stephen discovered that the cancer had spread and fought bravely for several months - including journeying to Belgium last month to take part in a trial to treat his illness - before he lost his battle on February 27.
He and Kirsty, who have a three year-old son, Charlie, were to marry on March 16.
His father, Kenny, said: “It makes me proud to know how bravely Stephen fought this. Right to the end he put up a fight. It was really important to him that he was here for Charlie’s birthday on February 14, which we celebrated in the hospital in Aberdeen. It was a goal he was aiming for and he succeeded and that makes me proud.
“Kirsty has been outstanding throughout all of this. She has been with him round the clock and, even though they didn’t have a wedding, I still think of her as my daughter-in-law. She was like an angel, completely devoted to him.
“I’d like to thank all of those people who raised so much money for Stephen, it was just amazing.
“And I would like to thank the staff on Ward 17 at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, as well as the staff in Belgium who did everything they could to get Stephen on the treatment.”
Staff at Stephen’s local pub, the Leathan Arms, made the following statement: “Our love and thoughts goes out to Kirsty, Charlie and all their family and friends at this tragic time.
‘‘Stephen was an amazing man with a big heart and the fight he gave showed his true strength. He was loved by everyone in the bar and no words can describe the hole that’s been left now he’s gone. His banter and cheeky smile will be sorely missed. We are so proud to say Stephen was one of our boys, top boy at that. R.I.P Stephen Kleszyk. Gone but never forgotten.”
He is also survived by his mum, Maria, brother Gary and sister Annemarie.
A celebration of his life will be held tomorrow (Friday) at Aberdeen Crematorium from 1.35pm.