Tom Parker’s widow Kelsey has called for more funding into brain tumour research in the UK, saying many families are “clutching at straws” as they travel abroad for alternative treatments.
The Wanted singer died at a hospice near the couple’s south-east London home on March 30 at the age of 33 after being diagnosed with stage four glioblastoma.
Kelsey appeared on BBC Breakfast to discuss how they had visited a clinic in Spain in a bid to prolong his life by exploring options outside chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
She said: “When we were in treatment I used to speak to people all the time – different families, children who have got brain tumours, other husbands, other wives – and it is just the same thing. Everyone has to go abroad.
“When you get diagnosed, because the standard of care hasn’t been changed in 30 years, you are literally clutching at straws and thinking, ‘What else can I actually do?’
“You have to go abroad. You have to seek other options because the standard of care is just radio and chemo and that is it.”
Appearing on the show via video call, Kelsey said her family were taking each day “as it comes”.
The actress, who had two young children with the late singer, added: “We are just trying to live life best as we can without Tom. That’s it. That’s all I can do.”
After hearing about another family going through a similar experience, Kelsey reflected on how some travel abroad seeking alternative treatments.
She said: “There needs to be more done in this country. How can it be the biggest killer and get 1% of funding? I just don’t understand it.”
Also appearing on BBC Breakfast, David Jenkinson, from the Brain Tumour Charity, called for better funding into research and treatments.
He said: “We have seen with Covid but also with other cancers that when there is a sustainable amount of money put into research it leads to new treatments and new therapies.”
However, he warned some treatments offered abroad had not been proven effective.
Mr Jenkinson added: “We totally understand why people who are very desperate choose to travel, but some of these therapies haven’t been fully tested yet.
“Or some of them are going through testing but they are not at a stage where the NHS would be able to prescribe them.”
Parker announced in October 2020 he had been diagnosed with stage four glioblastoma and had begun radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
He wrote about his experiences in a book titled Hope.
Tom and Kelsey married in 2018. Their son, Bodhi, was born in October 2020, and their daughter, Aurelia Rose, in 2019.