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‘Devoted father’ loses cancer battle

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Daddy’s little angels: Bryan Bumsted with his darling daughters Annie and Kit, now five and three

A brave mother-of-two has spoken of the devastating loss of a “loving husband” and “devoted father” who lived for his two little girls.

Sarah Bumsted’s husband, Bryan, died this month at the age of 37, just 43 days after a rare form of kidney cancer was diagnosed.

Mrs Bumsted described her husband’s “superhuman efforts” to make his beloved daughters, Annie, five, and Kit, three, laugh and smile, even when they visited him in hospital.

She said he “lived to be their dad” and felt it was now her duty to keep her husband’s memory alive for their children for ever.

“The baby monitor was never on my side of the bed,” Mrs Bumsted said. “He wanted to be the one who got up in the middle of the night to see his girls. He was totally devoted to them — he would have checked on them 500 times if I had let him.

“There are a lot of good dads out there, but Bryan lived to be their dad. He felt the whole reason for him being here was to look after his girls and he did everything he could to make them smile and spend as much time as possible with them.

“Right now I cannot imagine how their life is going to be as good as it would have been if he had been around for another 40 years.”

Mr Bumsted, a keen sportsman and fisherman, was in the prime of his life when he was struck down by the rare form of renal cancer that has left doctors baffled.

He had shown no symptoms apart from a sore shoulder up until the night before Thanksgiving when he was rushed to hospital in Florida, where the Bumsteds were visiting family.

The next day, an MRI scan revealed he had stage four cancer and he was moved to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

Mr Bumsted was never able to leave hospital, but always put on a brave face for his children when they visited.

“He always rallied for the girls, it was incredible to see,” Mrs Bumsted said. “I have no idea how he was able to do it, it was superhuman. Even when they visited him in ICU and hospital, he had them laughing and joking.”

Mr Bumsted passed away on January 11 with his wife by his side.

The couple met in 2000 in New York, where Mrs Bumsted worked as a teacher and Mr Bumsted worked in insurance, but they got together in 2005. A year later, they moved to Bermuda after Mr Bumsted was offered a job with the Lancashire Group.

“When I met Bryan for the first time I thought he was so funny,” she said. “No one could escape his quick wit. I was totally charmed right away.”

The couple were engaged in Bermuda before returning to Mrs Bumsted’s home city of Pittsburgh for their wedding in November 2007.

In 2009, daughter Annie was born at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital and Kit followed two years later.

“Our family life is here, our whole married life has been here,” Mrs Bumsted said. “Bryan loved living in Bermuda for the family life it gave us.

“I can’t imagine leaving at the moment. It will be like I am leaving Bryan here because so much of our life was great because of Bermuda.”

Mr Bumsted’s family has started the Bryan Bumsted Fund to help to finance further research into the illness that took his life and to buy equipment to treat it at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

“I made some serious promises to him,” Mrs Bumsted said. “Right up until the very end, he knew what was going on. We said we would make sure his girls knew him forever. They were everything to him and that is my life’s work now. I love being around his friends and that Bermuda family is even more valuable to me now.

“I am so grateful for the support everyone has shown me since, it has been incredible. They have left no stone unturned; it has been mind-blowing what people have done. These are the people who got to see the kind of dad, husband and guy he was all the time.”

• Donations in memory of Mr Bumsted can be sent to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, ATTN: Amanda Gilstein, 633 Third Avenue, New York, NY, USA 10017 with a note directing the donation to the Bryan Bumsted Fund.

Bryan and Sarah Bumsted with one of their beloved daughters (Photo courtesy Sacha Blackburne)
Sports fan: Keen sportsman Bryan Bumsted enjoys a baseball game in the States with his cherished daughters Kit and Annie
Loving father: Bryan Bumsted gets a kiss from one of his devoted daughters, whom "he lived for" (Photo courtesy Sacha Blackburne)
Family fun: Bryan Bumsted splashes around with daughters Annie and Kit
Bryan Bumsted and wife Sarah celebrate Easter 2014 at their home in Spanish Point with Annie and Kit
<p>‘Warm, funny and totally devoted’</p>

Friends of a popular American businessman who died from a rare form of cancer have paid tribute to his “irrepressible” personality.

Bryan Bumsted was only 37 when he passed away on January 11 in New York.

Mr Bumsted and his wife, Sarah, had lived in Bermuda for nearly ten years and both their beloved daughters, Annie and Kit, were born on the Island.

Running star Chris Estwanik led the tributes to the keen sportsman, who had also represented Bermuda at lacrosse.

Mr Estwanik told The Royal Gazette: “I’ve never met anyone in my life that I was more comfortable laughing with one minute and then baring my soul to the next than Bryan.

“He had this magical ability to relate to everybody that was blessed to spend time around him. His wit and sense of humour were only trumped by his love for and commitment to Sarah, Annie and Kit.”

Mr Bumsted grew up in Madison, New Jersey, and moved to Bermuda in 2006 to work in the insurance industry.

Close friend David Bigley said: “Bryan was a loyal friend, a tremendous personality and the best natural father I have ever met.

“He had the unique ability to say what everyone else was thinking and we are all better for having known him. He will be missed, but, more importantly, he will never be forgotten.”

Family friend Jayne Burnet added: “Bryan made everyone feel at ease. He was warm, funny and a totally devoted family man.

“I feel so fortunate to have known him and to have been part of the Bumsted family life.

“To be at the Bumsted home when Bryan came in from work was a sight to see, with screams of excitement and joy from all the children in the house, even the ones that were not his own. He put a smile on all our faces and joy in our hearts.”

Close friend Mike Cash hailed Mr Bumsted’s integrity and decency. “Bryan was a very caring person, not just to his family, to whom he was a caring husband and doting father, plus a perpetual, juvenile delinquent with his daughters, but to everyone around him,” he said.

“He had very strong integrity and decency, and while his irrepressible nature will remain in the mind of his friends and business colleagues, the world itself is disadvantaged by his passing.”