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Family’s mission after tragic loss

Tributes paid to Steven Greenwood known as Dibit to his family and friends.

Tributes paid to Steven Greenwood known as Dibit to his family and friends.

A doting family have paid tribute to their “larger than life” and “inspirational” brother.

Steven Greenwood died aged just 32 after suffering medical problems brought on by muscular dystrophy and cardiomyopathy.

Tragically his older brother Neil, 38, suffers from the same condition and now the family is determined to raise awareness of the condition and for the centre which has supported them through so much.

His sister Suzanne Greenwood-North, 35, has led tributes, describing her youngest brother, a former Carleton Green Primary School and Hodgson High School pupil, as her “rock”.

She said: “To the family he was larger than life, he was very funny.

“We do take a lot of comfort in that although his life was very short he lived it to the full.

“He really has made his mark on so many people.”

And his mum Joan added: “He had a very debilitating illness and he fought it with great fortitude and courage.”

Steven, known as ‘Dibit’ to friends and family, died in hospital in the early hours of November 28.

He grew up in Carleton, the youngest of seven siblings, an avid football fan he faithfully followed his favourite teams, Blackpool FC and Newcastle United, partied with friends and worked for the child support agency. But between 2003 and 2005 he noticed he was getting weaker and in 2006 he was told the devastating news he had muscular dystrophy.

The condition weakens muscles over time.

A sufferer’s life expectancy depends on which muscles are affected and how the heart and lungs are affected.

There are nine major types of muscular dystrophy and it affects people worldwide.

The family was dealt a double blow when a second sibling, Neil, was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy just a few months later.

But the double diagnosis strengthened the brothers’ bond and they spent a lot of time together being supported by the Neuromuscular Centre, in Cheshire, through physiotherapy.

Suzanne said: “They were very supportive of each other, they could talk to each other about it and kept each other going.”

Steven amazed friends and family when, despite ill health, he led a road trip to the Ukraine in the summer last year to watch Euro 2012 matches with his friend Carl Atherton. And in September of the same year he embarked on a three month trip living in Spain.

Joan said: “He was very determined to do those things and live life to the full.”

Suzanne added: “He was a real inspiration.”

In recent months Suzanne’s sons, Ben and Adam Hislop, had dedicated their teenage years to supporting and caring for their uncle who was in and out of hospital on a number of occasions since having a fall earlier this year.

Ben, 17, spent his days caring for Steven and even took him to London for a Jay Z concert and to watch two international football matches.

Proud mum Suzanne added: “Steven really loved him, they were so close.

“He was my rock and doted on his nieces and nephews.”

Now the family are planning to fund raise for the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, organising collections ahead of football matches at Anfield in Liverpool and hoping to raise awareness of the condition and how people can be supported with it.

Joan said: “The condition is not high profile enough, this is what we’re to do now, raise awareness about it and its effects.”

Steven’s family, including parents Joan and Gary, his siblings and nieces and nephews, remembered him in a service at St Martin and St Hilda’s Church on Fleetwood Road, Carleton, on Monday.

Donations to the Neuromuscular Centre are welcomed, via Hollowell and Sons funeral directors.

For more information on how to donate call (01253) 355663.

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