Celebrating Milestones During Cancer
- Former singer of The Wanted Tom Parker was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor last October. The handsome 32-year-old is married to Kelsey Hardwick, 31, and the couple share two children.
- Parker recently shared a sweet throwback photo from his wedding and an adoring message to his wife in honor of his third wedding anniversary.
- Cherishing life’s milestones is super important, especially for people living with cancer. A top cancer doctor explains that a positive attitude does truly matter during a cancer journey.
Tom Parker, former singer of UK boy band The Wanted, was diagnosed with an inoperable glioblastoma brain tumor in October. The handsome 32-year-old is married to Kelsey Hardwick, 31, and the couple share two children. The upbeat Brit often shares humorous musings on life via Instagram and constantly expresses his love for his family. He recently shared a sweet throwback photo from his wedding in honor of his third wedding anniversary.Read More
“3 years married to you! When I tell you I love you my girl, I’m not just saying it. I say it to remind you that you are the best thing that has ever happened to me,” Parker wrote in an adoring message to his wife. “Thank you for not only the last 3 years of marriage but just for being the wonderful human being you are.”
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Parker and Hardwick dated for nearly 10 years, got engaged in 2016, and tied the knot at the romantic Ridge Farm in Surrey, England with all of their closest loved ones.
The doting dad often gives fans glimpses of life at home with his family, and savors every moment.
“Right now the football is over, time to be a dad again,” Parker wrote, referring to the England-Italy soccer match, with an adorable picture of himself wearing a princess tiara with his daughter and a dollhouse in the background. Aurelia Rose just turned two and they welcomed son Bodhi Thomas Paris in October, just after Parker received his devastating health news.
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Not even a week ago, Parker expressed that he was struggling with side effects from his chemotherapy treatment. “What a difference a few days make. Currently I’m laid in bed with chemo side effects hitting me in the face hard,” he wrote with a beautiful family photo. “These 3 little beauties get me through it and make it all worth it.”
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Parker bravely shared his news with the world in October. “Hey guys, you know that we’ve both been quiet on social media for a few weeks and it’s time to tell you why,” he wrote on social media. “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 addition to chemotherapy, he has received radiation therapy.
Although Parker’s battle has been up and down, he recently had some good news a few months ago, which gives the family hope.
In April, after Parker’s latest MRI, former bandmate Max George shared that “Tom’s got something called glioblastoma, which is quite an aggressive form of brain tumor, but he’s had his first bout of chemo and radiotherapy, which he has responded to unbelievably. Doctors were actually shocked by how well he’s responded – all of his tumors have been suppressed, so he’s in the best hands.”
Glioblastoma is an extremely aggressive and fast growing disease, and there’s been very few treatment advancements for those facing this diagnosis. Due to little progress, most glioblastoma patients’ expected survival time is no more than two years, but that’s where Optune has shown to be a huge help. This is considered a tumor-treating therapy, and comes in the form of a cap patients place on their head. Optune is available to adult patients who are 22 or older, and was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in October 2015.
An electric current runs through adhesive pads which are a part of the cap. The current disrupts the division of cancer cells which can slow down and delay the progression of the disease. As opposed to the median survival rate of glioblastoma patients (2 years), clinical trials that gave patients Optune, in addition to standard treatment, saw their survival rates go up. For half of the patients, two more years were added to their median survival, and a third of patients saw their survival rates go up by five more years.
“I just want to emphasize to patients that when I first started doing this in 1999, there were maybe less than 5% of patients with this disease that were alive two years,” Dr. Suriya Jeyapalan, a neuro-oncologist at Tufts Medical Center, told SurvivorNet in a previous interview. “Now we’re getting out to maybe a third of patients alive at five years. This is not your father’s brain tumor, and I want to sort of give a message of hope to patients. In the future we’ll add to these treatments and make it even better.”
Supporting a Spouse Through Cancer
Supporting a spouse through their cancer treatment is taxing, and some find that having the right mindset can make it easier. No matter what Parker is going through, his positivity and humor propel him forward through this scary journey. And they are hopeful. His spouse has detailed how her positive attitude has helped get her through this time.
“For my kids, for Tom, for my family, I think it’s a really bad horrendous situation but staying positive is the only way to get through this,” Hardwick has said. “People are looking at me thinking ‘how is she getting out of bed in the morning?’ but I think it’s the only way to get through this.”
Dr. Zuri Murrell, a colorectal surgeon at Cedars-Sinai, told SurvivorNet in a previous interview how he sees the positive effect that a good mindset can have on those battling cancer.
“My patients who thrive, even with stage four cancer, from the time that they, about a month after they’re diagnosed, I kind of am pretty good at seeing who is going to be OK,” Dr. Murrell said. “Now doesn’t that mean I’m good at saying that the cancer won’t grow. But I’m pretty good at telling what kind of patient are going to still have this attitude and probably going to live the longest, even with bad, bad disease. And those are patients who, they have gratitude in life.”