Laughing Through Pain at Chermside Hospital: How David ‘Dagwood’ Bissell Battles Hardships

Dagwood
Photo credit: David Bissell/Facebook

In a hospital bed at the Prince Charles Hospital in Chermside, David “Dagwood” Bissell is waging war against a relentless enemy – his own body. Yet, even as he confronts a multitude of life-threatening conditions, including cystic fibrosis, pneumonia, heart problems, and cancer, this beloved Brisbane clown soldiers on with grace, humour, and hope.


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Since being admitted in March for his approximately 175th hospital stay, he has chronicled his harrowing health journey through a series of hilarious yet heart-wrenching Facebook posts

His daily updates, interspersed with witty one-liners and outrageous photoshopped images, have struck a chord with hundreds, offering an inspiring glimpse into the life of a man who refuses to let his circumstances dim his shine.

Photo credit: David Bissell/Facebook 

“When five of your organs are only working at less than 10 percent, it makes life hard,” he wrote candidly. Yet, his indomitable spirit shines through as he adds, “I’m not sure where my strength comes from or why it keeps showing up when I need it the most.”

Photo credit: David Bissell/Facebook 

Born in 1973 with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder that clogs the lungs and digestive system, he and his identical twin Peter “Peebo” Bissell turned to clowning as an escape from the many years spent in hospital wards as children. Their delightful antics brought smiles to countless faces over the decades, but their jovial partnership was tragically cut short when Peebo succumbed to the disease in 2020.

Photo credit: David Bissell/Facebook 

Now, as Dagwood battles a perfect storm of ailments, including a staggering 28 daily medications, gruelling dialysis sessions up to three times a week, and a litany of invasive procedures, his social media diary has become a beacon of hope for those facing their own struggles.

“Life equals hope,” he declares, his words a rallying cry for all to find strength in the darkest of times.


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With each audacious post – from rocking outrageous nail polish to donning a ridiculously photoshopped mullet – Dagwood reminds us that even in the depths of hardship, laughter can be potent medicine. And as he urges his followers to be “not just tough but Dagwood tough,” this indomitable clown’s fight takes on a deeper significance, reminding us all of the resilience of the human spirit.

Published 2-May-2024