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David Smyth loses battle with leukemia
Jan 17, 2012
He hung on for as long as he could as his parents fought for him from his hospital bedside.
Oakville's David Smyth, whose battle with leukemia and Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome made national headlines, died yesterday morning at age 20.
His father, Mike Smyth, made a very public effort to search for a bone-marrow transplant that his son so desperately needed. They hoped the donors might help others as well as their son.
Last night, the Smyth family announced he "peacefully passed away" with his family at his side.
Funeral plans were unknown last night.
It was David's wish to publicize the need for bone marrow donors by asking his parents to speak out.
Just last month, more than 300 people -- 75 per cent of them strangers -- lined up at an Oakville clinic to see if they were a match for David.
He was diagnosed with leukemia in June. Before that, he led a typical life despite his other disorder.
The Trent University student loved history and philosophy, said family friend Marta Romaniak-Dlugosh. Recently, he had been reading Aristotle and Plato, she said. "He was very intense about studying history and just learning."
David was a member of the Ontario Racquet Club, and he loved the TV show Mythbusters, she said.
"He loved that program. He would watch it over and over again."
David celebrated his 20th birthday in August, and the Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre allowed his dog to visit him in his room, she said.
"He loved his dog. That was very special to him."
Romaniak-Dlugosh said David was "very unselfish" and hoped his parents would "go on and help someone else."
"(He had a) good disposition constantly, never complaining about any aches or pains," she said. "He was ... happy with a capital H.
Notes of sadness and condolences flooded a Facebook page, Saving David Smyth, yesterday.
Another clinic, for OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network, is being held at Oakville-Trafalgar Memorial Hospital on Sept. 7.
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