Family draws on their 'knight' after brain tumour tragedy
PAUL McLean was his wife's "knight in shining armour" - a man thought of as a "warrior" by his friends and family.
Leah McLean said the "gentle giant", who followed her to Perth to place a ring on her finger, was a kind-hearted and typical bloke and also her "best friend".
The Mackay father of two was just 38 when he died on April 29, almost six years after first being diagnosed with a brain tumour.
Mr McLean was diagnosed with a grade three anaplastic astrocytoma - a rare malignant brain tumour - in 2010, after returning from his honeymoon.
"He had these killer headaches and he was really tired," Mrs McLean said.
"We didn't think anything of it; we had been working two jobs each, trying to pay for our wedding, so we just thought he was just tired."
After weeks of visiting doctors, and undergoing an MRI scan, Mr McLean was diagnosed with a 10cm tumour on the frontal left lobe of his brain.
He underwent surgery in Townsville and two weeks later had another operation, performed by a specialist in Sydney.
"That was in August 2010," Mrs McLean said.
"We then went ahead with six weeks of radiation while our daughter Rachel stayed here at home, in Mackay... When we got home he had to do another year of chemo.
"Paul went into some sort of remission and we thought he was better, so just got on with it."
Shortly afterwards, Mrs McLean fell pregnant with the couple's second child, their son Kellan.
Then, in November last year, Mr McLean was diagnosed with a different form of cancer - a glioblastoma multiforme, which is a fast-growing type of brain cancer.
He died less than six months later and since then his family has struggled to come to terms with their loss.
"I still look for him everywhere and the kids are a mess," Mrs McLean said.
"I walk around in circles... you just don't know what to do anymore.
"Cancer, it just steals your dignity and ruins everything."
'FARM RAISER' FOR MCLEAN FAMILY
A FUNDRAISER will be held on June 18, to honour Mr McLean and help his young family get through a difficult time.
His cousin, Joel Bow, one of many wanting to help raise funds for the McLean family and their campaign, Power 4 Paul, has organised the event, Farm Raiser.
"We have six bands lined up, a brewery, burlesque dancers, a guy doing aerial tricks on ropes, food, and it's just going to be an awesome event," Mr Bow said.
"We just wanted to do something to help Paul's family, especially with what they've been through.
"They're amazing people... it's been a really big struggle for Leah.
"It's the least we can do, and it's also a chance to bring the community together to help support one another."
Farm Raiser, being run in partnership with the Port of Mackay Rotary Club, will be held at Mr Bow's brother's farm at Habana. Buses have been organised to transport those who attend to and from the Northern Beaches and City Heart.
Tickets are $45. For more information, visit the 'Port of Mackay Rotary presents Farm Raiser' Facebook page.
You can also visit http://www.power4paul.weebly.com