Monthly Archives: October 2015

Inspiring Story – Hero Dad Dies From Cancer After Raising £500k To Help Daughter Battling Same Disease


An inspirational dad who spent his final days raising £500,000 for his young stepdaughter’s cancer treatment while battling his own brain tumour has died.

Tom Attwater, 32, has been labelled a hero after ignoring his own disease to ensure that six-year-old Kelli Smith was given the best start chance of life.

The youngster endured childhood cancer neuroblastoma aged just three-months-old and then again aged three in 2012.

And in the same year, tragic Tom was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer – and he spent his remaining years raising funds for the daughter of his wife, Joely.

Paying tribute to her husband’s efforts, Joely said: “Tom was my hero. His drive to help Kelli astounded all who knew him.

“Despite his extreme fatigue and daily seizures, he got out of bed every day to help fundraise.

“He wanted me to know that although he wouldn’t live to any age, Kelli would have the very best chance of life.”

Tom wanted Kelli to receive pioneering medical care not available on the NHS and vowed to raise half a million pounds so that he could send her to America.

Last December, Tom’s dying wish came true when he hit the £500,000 mark, something he described as the “greatest achievement of his life”.

Just one month before he had celebrated the birth of his son Fletcher with Joely, who was born against the odds while Tom was having cancer treatment.

But on Tuesday this week, the brave dad lost his battle against the disease and sadly died at his home in Pattingham, Staffs., with his family by his side.

Heartbroken Joely, a social care student, said: “Tom gave me the happiest moments of my life and I am in indescribable pain now he has gone…

“This is a very tough time for Kelli. We explained that daddy’s ‘naughty lump’ in his head couldn’t be cured and that one day he would go to heaven while she was still a child.

“That’s why it meant so much to Tom to walk Kelli down the aisle at our wedding because he knew he wouldn’t be there when she is a bride, and Kelli knew this.

“She will cherish that moment forever.”

Joely described the moment she told Kelli that daddy would have to leave them soon as “the most difficult moment of her life”.

She added: “Kelli is a daddy’s girl and she will struggle to adjust without her wonderful, loving father.

“Little Fletcher’s face always lit up and showed a real look of love when he was in Tom’s arms.

“We have hundreds of pictures of their time together and I am devastated that they will be all Fletcher has of the amazing man who was overjoyed to see him born…

Tom’s father Tony Attwater, 62, said: “We are so proud that despite his illness he managed to raise all that money for the Kelli appeal.

“We will miss him so much. His personality filled the room.”

His mum Sue Attwater, 61, added: “He worked hard and played hard but family always came first.

“He always told Kelli never to give up on anything but unfortunately this was one fight he could never win.”

Kelli is currently cancer free but has been told she is likely to suffer a relapse and the money raised will go towards the treatment in the USA if this occurs.

Joely has now set up a memorial fund in Tom’s name for Brain Tumour Research. It can be found