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Joe, this is how much we all loved you...
TRIBUTES have been paid to an “inspirational” young man who lost his nine-year battle with a rare illness.
Joe Guglielmi, of Church Street, Colchester, was 27 when he lost his fight with neurofibromatosis type 2, which causes multiple tumours on and around the brain.
Lynda McFaull, Joe’s mum, said: “Joe was an inspiration to all around him. He brought joy into people’s lives with his kindness, laughter and passion for living life to the full.
“Joe faced the adversity of his life with great courage and he was always incredibly positive and fun loving – full of energy and love for his family and friends.”
Joe, who went to Lawford Primary School and Manningtree High School, was 18 when he was diagnosed.
The rare disorder is genetic, although no one else in Joe’s family has had it.
He had recently finished a course in caring at Colchester Institute when he suddenly started to experience deafness.
Initially, doctors suspected he had a hearing infection, but when the deafness persisted, Joe underwent an MRI scan, which led to the diagnosis.
He underwent two major brain operations in 2003 and 2004 to remove tumours. Although the operations were successful, Joe still had other tumours.
As the illness progressed, he completely lost his hearing, struggled with his balance, suffered from extreme fatigue and was left partially sighted.
He endured frequent trips to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, in Cambridge, but throughout his illness found time to volunteer with the Co-op in Colchester.
Joe and his mum also supported others recently diagnosed with neurofibromatosis yype 2, by attending courses with them.
Mrs McFaull, his full-time carer, said one of Joe’s passions was food, and that Facebook was an important part of his life, as face-to-face communication was sometimes difficult. He died on July 5.
About 200 mourners were at the Manchester United fan’s celebration of life service on Sunday, at St Peter’s Church, North Hill, Colchester.
Mrs McFaull added: “Joe would be stunned at how people felt. He was a very modest person who would have never believed he touched so many lives.
“He would have been so shocked at the Facebook messages, cards and people who came a long distance for his service.”
Joe also leaves behind his father, Carlo, a cabinet member on Tendring Council and sub-postmaster in Lawford, brother Tom, 30, and sister Anna, 23.
In November 2009, Joe’s girlfriend, Kirstie Seaman, 24, died when her moped collided with a car and a van on the A137, between Wherstead and Tattingstone.
l A fund has been set up in Joe’s memory to raise money for the Neuro Foundation. It aims to raise £25,000. Cheques payable to the foundation should be sent to 7b Church Street, Colchester. CO1 1NF, or search for “in memory of Joe Guglielmi” at www.just giving.com