WILNO – Combermere resident David Douthwright is many things to many people. He’s a loving husband to his wife Posie, a caring step-grandpa to his many grandchildren and quite the character to residents in the community.
Unfortunately, the man that many call kind and caring is currently battling for his life at an Ottawa hospital.
David lived in London, Ontario for many years. He came up to the Combermere area to spend time at his cottage on the Madawaska River. That is where he met Posie. She had some work that needed to be done to her house. He offered to help out, and their relationship took off from there.
Eight years ago, the couple married.
Becky DeCarle is one of Posie’s eight children. David had six from his previous marriage.
“So we’re the Brady Bunch,” Becky chuckled.
One year ago, David was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a blood cancer that develops in the bone marrow. David, who was semi-retired at the time, was working part-time as a handyman. His wife, Posie, worked for Madonna House Publications.
“He was one of those guys that just works,” Becky said. “If he’s not working inside the house, he’s helping somebody; he’s busy, busy, busy.”
Becky said that last year David underwent chemotherapy, but never complained about his condition.
“When he was sick, the first time, I thought I would go over and try to cheer him up,” Becky explained. “I walked in, and he’s cheering me up.”
This February, the 68-year-old was sent to the Ottawa General Hospital to undergo an intensive bone marrow transplant. While there is no cure for Multiple Myeloma, it is treatable through the use of stem cells.
The type of transplant David is having is an autologous stem cell transplant, which uses his own cells. Most recently, the doctors collected his stem cells, froze them, and gave David a high dose of chemo to try and kill as much of the cancer as possible.
Doctors have reintroduced the stem cells to his system, in hopes that the treatment will extend David’s life for at least two and a half years without needing further treatments. His recovery time is an estimated six months.
“He’s really not well right now,” Becky said. “Mom is hanging in there, but it’s hard to watch someone you love in pain and suffering. If anyone can handle it, it’s them because they are very prayerful, spiritual people who just have that inner peace and strength that is required in situations like this.”
Because the couple is spending the month in Ottawa, Posie’s family has started a benefit piano bar at the Red Canoe Café in Wilno every Thursday in February. It is based on donations only and Shanti Nordholt, Posie’s daughter, hopes that $5,000 is raised to cover her mom’s accommodations and travel expenses.
The very first piano bar was held on February 9. Around 25 people showed up for the event, which showcased the talents of the McPhee/Douthwright family, along with the talents of other special guests.
This story continues in the February 16 Issue of The Valley Gazette.