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Terminally-ill Burnley dad reveals his 'bucket list'
12:00pm Friday 25th January 2013 in News
A TERMINALLY-ill dad-of-two has created a ‘bucket list’ of 30 things he wants to do before he dies.
Top of Tom Cooper’s list is a family holiday to Lanzarote where he found a lump in his neck 15 months ago which turned out to be throat cancer.
A trip to the Eiffel Tower, a helicopter ride and a day driving a Ferrari also feature in his 30 wishes.
Raising awareness of his rare condtion, is also one of his big aims.
The 25-year-old former maintenance worker, who lives in Lowerhouse, Burnley, with his wife and two daughters, said: “People were asking me what kind of things I wanted to do and asking if I had thought of doing a bucket list.
“I hadn’t really heard of them but friends said it was a good idea and people at the hospital said they knew of people who had created lists before they died of things they wanted to do.
“It took me a while to get the hang of it. At first I was putting things on that were easy to do, when the idea is to aspire for things you dream of.
“I have a young family and most of the things on the list involve spending more time doing great things with them as that is what it is all about now for me."
The dad-of-two was diagnosed with the throat cancer 15 months ago, which has since spread behind the nose, to the lymph nodes, to the collar bone, under both arms and in his lungs.
Because of the rare nature of his illness doctors have told Tom that they do not know how long he has left. He is currently receiving treatment at The Christie in Manchester.
Tom said: “I am having cycles of chemotherapy and the sixth is starting soon.
“I spend 24 hours in hospital having scans and then take 10 tablets a day for two weeks. It is tough when the chemotherapy is going on.”
The majority of events are based on spending more time with his wife Tammy, 24, who gave up her job to look after him, and their daughters Tienna, five, and Ziani, two.
He said: "I want to do as many of these as possible and people have been incredibly generous and helpful. I just want to spend my time now trying to enjoy life and spending time with my family, who are so important to me.”
He has ticked off five events so far - his dream wedding in a £20,000 ceremony at Towneley Hall last April, meeting Manchester United stars Wayne Rooney and Ryan Giggs and a family holiday to Disneyland Paris.
A star has also been named after him by his family and a charity in Scotland has offered them the use of a log cabin named after Calum Speirs, a 12-year-old boy who died in February 2007 after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.
But his biggest dream is to return to the Spanish island where he first discovered his terminal illness.
“It was the last holiday in the sun we had and I really want to go back one last time before it’s too late,” said Tom.
“We met friends out there who run a restaurant and they had young children as well, and our children started playing together and we have kept in touch since we’ve been back in the UK.
“I would love to go back with the whole family for a relaxing holiday and to see them again.”
To find out more about Tom’s journey visit www.facebook.com/TomCoopersJourneyWithNasopharyngealCarcinoma.