Tom Parker from former boyband The Wanted is battling an inoperable brain tumor.
"I knew something wasn't right, but I never expected it to be this," the singer — who had a No. 3 hit with "Glad You Came" in 2012 — tells OK! magazine in an interview published Monday. "It's all I can think about right now."
Parker, 32, was diagnosed with a grade four glioblastoma six weeks ago and is currently undergoing radiotherapy and chemotherapy in an effort to shrink its size.
Tragically, life expectancy for patients with the tumor ranges from three months to 18 months after diagnosis. "It's just so hard," Parker tells the magazine.
"I honestly thought he was depressed about having man flu," adds his wife Kelsey Hardwick, 30, who is 36 weeks pregnant with the couple's second child. "We can't even believe we're having this conversation."
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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. There’s no easy way to say this but I’ve sadly been diagnosed with a Brain Tumour and I’m already undergoing treatment. We decided, after a lot of thought, that rather than hiding away and trying to keep it a secret, we would do one interview where we could lay out all the details and let everyone know the facts in our own way. 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. Tom and Kelsey xxx @ok_mag
Parker first displayed symptoms of the tumor in July, when he suffered a seizure at the family's home in Southeast London and checked himself into his local hospital emergency department.
After being assessed and sent home by the medics, Parker returned the following week because "he felt like he was concussed," says Hardwick, and was put on a waiting list for an MRI scan.
Six weeks later the couple and their 16-month-old daughter Aurelia were enjoying a summer staycation in Norwich, England when things took a turn.
"He suffered another seizure, which was much worse," says his wife. "It was really bad."
Parker was immediately sent for an MRI scan and remained in the hospital for three days having tests. It was then that the doctors pulled a curtain around his bed and told him their diagnosis.
"All I could think was, 'F—ing hell!'" Parker says. "I was in shock. It's stage four glioblastoma and they've said it's terminal. It was a lot to deal with by myself. I still haven't processed it."
"It was horrendous," adds Hardwick. "They rang me and told me over the phone. They said, 'It's a tumor and it's worst-case scenario.' My friend was with me and she just said, 'Don't pass out,'" she continues.
"It was like everything stopped. Obviously being told you have any tumor is bad, but to be told you have the worst one is a lot to take in. All I could think was, 'What's going to happen and what is our life now?'"
Parker is determined to fight the tumor every step of the way and is scouring the world for alternative treatments. He's also practicing reiki to give his mind some temporary relief from the emotional pressure and started a course of physiotherapy to aid his mobility.
Bandmates Jay McGuiness, Siva Kaneswaran, Max George and Nathan Sykes have also provided a supportive shoulder to lean on — with George's upcoming performance on the UK version of Dancing with the Stars providing a much-needed anchor of normality for the family to focus on.
"First of all… I think the bravery of Tom and Kelsey announcing their situation is incredible," George, 32, posted on Instagram Monday alongside some throwback photos of the band. "It's obviously a devastating and scary time… but for those who don't know Tom I will say this. There is nothing that he has ever given up on and has never taken no for an answer. His heart is the size of a lion's."
George, continued, "I can't wait to get back on the stage with you and the boys and have a proper celebration when you're better. You got this my man. I love you."
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First of all.. I think the bravery of Tom and Kelsey announcing their situation is incredible. It’s obviously a devastating and scary time… but for those who don’t know Tom I will say this. There is nothing that he has ever given up on and has never taken no for an answer. His heart is the size of a lions, and it is his drive and passion that has always lead The Wanted and made sure we are looked after the right way. Speaking as a brother, a friend and a band mate.. I know that you will conquer this as you have every other challenge you have ever faced. We are all on this journey together… and I can’t wait to get back on the stage with you and the boys and have a proper celebration when you’re better. You got this my man. I love you, Kels and all the family with all my heart and I’ll be right here.❤️
Jay McGuiness, wrote on Parker's Instagram post, "You've always been one in a million. I love you Tom. Let's get popping."
One Direction star Liam Payne added "Sending you love in this really tough time ❤️❤️❤️"
This was accompanied by a message from Mark Wahlberg, who posted emojis of two hands clasped in prayer either side of a red heart.
"Positivity is the best medicine right now," Hardwick says. "[Our daughter] Aurelia has been a brilliant distraction in that sense.
"If someone had told me my life was going to be taking Tom to radiotherapy in London every day and I'd be 36 weeks pregnant at the time, I wouldn't have believed them," she adds. "To be honest, I think I've forgotten I'm pregnant. It's all about Tom at the moment."
In an Instagram post Monday announcing his diagnosis, Parker said he and Hardwick plan to fight the cancer "all the way."
"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. There's no easy way to say this but I've sadly been diagnosed with a brain tumour and I'm already undergoing treatment. We decided, after a lot of thought, that rather than hiding away and trying to keep it a secret, we would do one interview where we could lay out all the details and let everyone know the facts in our own way," he wrote.
"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."
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