The Wanted's Tom Parker opens up about life with inoperable brain tumour

·3 min read
Photo credit: Instagram/ Tom Parker
Photo credit: Instagram/ Tom Parker

Last year, Tom Parker - one fifth of boyband The Wanted - announced the devastating news that he had been diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour aged just 32.

In October 2020, Tom told fans: "There’s no easy way to say this but I’ve sadly been diagnosed with a Brain Tumour and I’m already undergoing treatment."

In a joint statement with his wife, Kelsey, Tom added: "We are all absolutely devastated but we are gonna fight this all the way. We don’t want your sadness, we just want love and positivity and together we will raise awareness of this terrible disease and look for all available treatment options. It’s gonna be a tough battle but with everyone’s love and support we are going to beat this."

Now, almost a year later, Tom is opening up about life with an aggressive tumour and his hope for the future.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Tom remembered feeling like he wanted to "curl up and die" when he was first diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer with a typically bleak prognosis.

"It took me so long to not be able to be affected by things that I saw online. Every morning I would Google, or go on Twitter and type in glioblastoma, and it would just drag my day down," the singer said.

"Now that I've kind of put that to bed, I'm not as obsessed with it. I'm just learning to live my life a little bit more."

A year on, Tom's focusing on enjoying life with Kelsey and their two young kids, Aurelia and Bodhi.

"It's not that I'm ignoring cancer but I just don't want to pay it any attention. The more attention you pay it, the more it consumes your life and I don't want to consume my life. I've got kids, I've got family. So I just try and just ignore it as much as possible," he said.

He's keeping incredibly positive, despite dealing with difficult side effects. Tom's tumour shrunk after six cycles of chemotherapy and 30 rounds of radiation, but it's still there and affecting him.

One of the side-effects is limited movement on his left-hand side, resulted in "stilted walking" and Tom being unable to move his arm properly.

The 33-year-old has also struggled with rapid weight loss, dropping three-and-a-half-stone in about three weeks, after losing appetite during chemotherapy.

Currently, there is no cure for the illness Tom's going through, but he's doing everything he can to change that. He's put together a special Stand Up to Cancer Concert which will feature Ed Sheeran, Liam Payne and even a The Wanted reunion, to raise money for life-saving research.

Speaking about the big name artists taking part, Tom said:

"It means the world - not just to me personally but to our community, for the cancer community, for people who are going through glioblastoma."

He hopes the concert will make a difference in raising awareness and vital funds.

"No one's been able to find a cure, no one's been able to find a treatment, so we want to focus on trying to get as much money and funding for charities as possible, so they can try and find new breakthroughs.

"It feels like they're on the cusp of doing it. So hopefully this concert can make a change."

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