Thomas Paul Cooper
18/03/1987 - 23/12/2015
(For anyone who doesn't already know)
My name is Tammy Cooper and I have set up this fund page in the hope that many people club together and absolutely smash the target of £5,000 and possibly more in order for myself and my two daughters Tienna (9) and Ziani (7) to set up as a registered Charity in memory of my late husband Tom, father of my daughters.
In order to register as a charity, you need £5,000 to do so. Once the ball is rolling and after a few weeks, I hope, with the help of family, friends and members of the public (many who followed Toms cancer journey) will come together and help with fundraisers, ideas and putting word out there and sharing this page to all friends and family.
Toms memory lives on in our beautiful daughters, in our memories and in our hearts forever... for as long as we live, he lives too.
Cliche I know, but Tom was an incredibly special person..not just to us as a loved one, but to anyone who had the pleasure of meeting/knowing him! He was simply the best - a loving, loyal husband, a fantastic daddy, he doted on our little girls, and a wonderful friend to many. Not a bad bone in his body, he was loved by everyone he came into contact with and had the biggest smile and most beautiful twinkly eyes that lit up any room he walked in!
He loved to draw, he was very talented with that, and taught our eldest daughter to draw a few things. He was bright and funny and he loved family time.
Not only my husband, but my best friend, my confidante and soul mate all rolled into one!
We want to go far and wide with Toms memory in the hope that one day, with this, we can have a holiday home/caravan in his memory for young adults/children and their families affected by this cruel disease. Myself and my daughters know just how important and precious time/life is, and that making memories and taking photos is priority in these dark, difficult times.
As a family of four, we had several, and those are times we will never forget, and charities who helped us, we will never forget and be eternally grateful, enabling us to make memories which we will treasure for many years to come.
Tom was diagnosed terminal with nasopharyngeal carcinoma (rare cancer - behind the nose) October 15th 2011. On diagnosis it had already spread to his neck, collar bone, lymph nodes under both arms and his lungs.
Tom was offered chemotherapy at this stage, but was not curable! The treatment was only offered in the hope it would shrink tumours and prolong his life.
November 2011 he started the gruelling treatment.. it was a 6 cycle treatment, but Tom only managed two before being struck down with PVL (staphylococcus) a form of MRSA and a killer. Tom was rushed into hospital with a temp of 41, vomiting, black outs and dizziness and had to undergo and emergency op - it was the longest half hour of my life and only the beginning of our battle!
Little did we know at the time, but it was also contagious and myself and our daughters also caught it - it was awful!
Tom then had to have a break from Chemo, and was told to enjoy quality family time. 9 months went by and pains and symptoms were back, tests revealed the cancer had grown and spread further and so he went for more chemotherapy.
This continued with various treatments - Chemo and radio, with the gaps inbetween getting shorter and shorter!
We had a lot of good times, but we had many difficult times too - physically, emotionally, financially!
In the end, he was absolutely riddled, all his main organs were affected by the evil disease and it was July 2015 when things started to rapidly go downhill for Tom. He was admitted to the hospice on two occasions in the summer for two weeks at a time for pain/symptom control and blood transfusions, transferred to the Christie for emergency radiotherapy to his spine because he couldn't move and the drugs weren't touching the pain.. we didn't get much family time at all and he slept a lot due to being heavily sedated everyday!
November 2015 we just about managed a day out at carrington training ground - Tom was a huge united fan, as was Tienna.
A week later, he was struggling with his 4/5th chest infection in the space of a month, and was admitted to hospital with pneumonia. He couldn't breathe at all and was put on oxygen 24hours a day.. honestly though this was it, I didn't see him coming back from this with such a low immune too - but he did! He came back fighting with every ounce of strength he had left, for me and our girls! He returned home, with oxygen equipment in tow and from that moment on, only left the house twice because he just wasn't well enough for anything.
Each and every single day he got worse, deteriorating rapidly infront of mine and our daughters very eyes, nothing anyone could do to change it... it was heartbreaking!
With the kind and generous help of friends and family, we had our Christmas Day early - 04/12/15 - presents, decorations and Christmas dinner, the full works! Family all came round, and to make it even more wonderful, Tom was beaming that day - the most amazing day, full of love, laughter, good company and memories made to last a lifetime! It was perfect!!
A couple of weeks later, the run up to Christmas, school organised a Christmas fayre which Tienna and Ziani really wanted to go to, and although Tom wasn't at all well enough to go, he insisted he be there, with his girls to see them happy.
We took his portable oxygen and put him in his wheelchair - he struggled and was really unwell, but he stuck it out for his little girls... never did he moan, or complain, he battled on through everything, no matter the pain or discomfort and he smiled at ALL TIMES showing true strength and resilience.
Days later it was the girls Christmas nativity - again, Tom insisted he was going, adamant he wasn't missing this no matter how he felt! There was tears, anxiety attacks, struggles getting him up and down the communal stairs where we lived but we got him there and he thoroughly enjoyed the girls plays, and was incredibly proud of them, as we were of him.
Going home, my brother had to come and help us get up the stairs, Tom was really struggling for breath and my brother had to take all of his weight to get him up as he just wasn't strong enough and almost fell backwards down them.
For Tom it was frustrating and difficult, he was struggling and emotional.. for myself and my brother it was incredibly difficult, heartbreaking to see, and deal with - a young man with so much to live for, and having to endure all he was... CRUEL!!
20/12/2015 - Sunday morning Tom was losing his memory, he was shouting out for Marvin (his childhood dog) which had died quite a few years prior and never actually been in our house, he was having anxiety attacks and if I left the room he got worse and started to shout out 'I'm dying, I'm going to die now, it's my time to go to heaven, help me Tammy'
This was heart wrenching, but I had to hold it all together for him and for my children who were in the thick of a situation that couldn't be helped! I phoned my family and had to have the girls taken away from it, and I sat with Tom and calmed him down. It was a scary time for the girls, and I time I found unbearable, but had to be strong for all.
I was Toms full time carer for four years, and I kept him at home and cared for him, along with looking after the girls right up to almost the end.
He spent his final 12 hours in the hospice where sadly, 23/12/2015 Tom took his last breath aged 28.
The next hurdle I had to face, was breaking this devastating news to our daughters, then only aged 5 and 8 years old. I held them both in my arms as we sobbed together - the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life!
I showed the girls support books with pictures on death, and explained to them what happens when someone dies and where they go and what happens next - with that, I gave them the choice of whether they visit the chapel of rest with me or not. At first, they both said no, but as I was about to leave, they both came running out with pictures they had drawn for daddy and came with me - there are no words for the rest!!
Toms loss has left a huge, empty void in our lives - one never to be filled/replaced.
I look at my daughters and fill up with emotions as I think about them growing up without their dad, all their special birthdays, occasions in life he's not here to celebrate with, or here to see them growing up and changing each and every single day.
I also look at them and beam with pride at the beautiful, bright, happy young girls they're growing up to be and I see Tom everyday in their mannerisms and it makes me smile. He would be the proudest dad ever - they truly are miniature versions of him and they are what keep me going. ❤️
More info can be found on Toms brave four year battle against cancer on Facebook - search 'TomCoopersjourneywithnasopharyngealcarcinoma