Kelsey Parker has called on the government to provide more funds towards treatment and care for people who have been diagnosed with a brain tumour.
The widow, 32, who lives in Bolton, has been left to raise her two young children alone following the tragic passing of her husband Tom in March 2022. The Wanted star had a year-and-a-half long battle with stage four glioblastoma brain cancer, before his untimely death at age 33.
Kelsey has been documenting her life since Tom’s death on Instagram, where she boasts over 400,000 followers and on ITV series ‘Kelsey Parker: Life After Tom’.
She took to her Instagram story on Sunday to raise awareness of the challenges family’s experience when their loved one is diagnosed with a brain tumour.
Kelsey explained that she felt compelled to speak out about the lack of funding given to treat brain tumours after recently speaking to a woman whose husband has been diagnosed.
She described feeling “shocked” that just one percent of funding from the NHS is dedicated to the cause despite being one of the biggest killers of children and people under the age of 40.
Kelsey said: “They are the biggest cancer killers, tumours, and they get one percent of funding. The standard of care hasn’t changed in 30 years. It’s literally shocking. I’m shocked to say the words.”
The influencer vented about having to juggle multiple roles after a loved one is diagnosed because you want to do everything possible to help them.
She said: “Your loved one gets diagnosed and then you have to become this person because you’re sitting there thinking ‘okay so the prognosis is really bad. I want to save their life how can I do that?’
“So then you become a carer to your partner or your child. You become the carer, you become a doctor, a fundraiser, receptionist, a PA.”
Kelsey explained that you find yourself researching treatments in other countries due to the lack of availability here and then have to fundraise to get access to it.
“There’s an amazing treatment in Germany but the price of it, so you then have to become a fundraiser because you’ve got to raise all this money to get your partner out to Germany for life saving treatment,” she said.
“When Tom was ill we reached out to so many different companies and clinics around the world and then you have to sit there and think ‘is this the right option for us as a family?’.
“It’s just crazy and I know there’s a drug that Tom was having which was called Avastin,I’ve been told now how much Avastin costs, which I’m so shocked at.”
Kelsey admitted to feeling “heartbroken” after speaking to women who are in similar situations to her experience with Tom.
She said: “I could just literally rant all day about this. It actually breaks my heart because I know that when I was in this with Tom, you literally feel like you are in quicksand and that you can’t get out of it, you’re stuck but you want to do everything you possibly can for that person who you love so much.
“And it is just heartbreaking for me to talk to other wives who are going through that s*** show and something more needs to be done. The government needs to do more because brain tumours are not rare. High grade gliomas are not rare, DIPG in children are not rare anymore.
“Something needs to be done and the government needs to step up and do something about it because how many more people are we going to lose like Tom. More funding needs to go into brain tumours.”
This comes after Kelsey was praised for showing “bravery” throughout her ITV series, where she spoke candidly about how her life changed after Tom’s diagnoses and her struggles with grief.
She has been encouraged by her followers to continue to speak out and has received a flood of comments from women who are able to relate to her loss.
Commenting on her Instagram post about the finale of the series, one wrote: “You are really brave to share this story total admiration for you and your family, keep on with the counselling don’t suppress those feelings by keeping busy.
“I know I have done that in the past and still do sometimes I suffered with a brain tumour 2 years ago but fortunately mine was operable, I now have mild epilepsy but the trauma is still there ! You are a fabulous mum keep shining and sharing 🥰 #letsfindacure #braintumorawareness”
Another said: “I’m only on episode 3 but it’s so sad but so amazing, I lost my husband just over a yr ago, he was 32, gutted still, you just make it real ❤️”