He’s not the biological father of his wife’s 5-year-old daughter who has survived cancer twice but 31-year-old Tom Attwater loves her like his own child. They had experienced how it is to almost lose her twice to cancer and though she’s currently in remission, there is a big chance of relapse.
But 5-year-old Kelli is not the only one battling cancer in the family because Tom also has cancer. In fact, while Kelli’s is in remission, his had progressed faster than they had hoped for and doctors had already told them that there was nothing more they could do to treat him.
Knowing that his days are numbered, Tom made a bucket list of things he wanted fulfilled before he passed away. Among these are getting married to sweetheart Joely Smith, adopting Kelli as his child, and changing the child’s surname to his (Kelli loves the idea!).
But #1 on his list is not to get well (since that’s impossible now) or even the getting married part because his topmost priority is to raise money for Kelli. Since the cancer might relapse, Tom knew that Joely would have a difficult time raising money on her own and also taking care of Kelli when he’s gone; thus, he started a campaign to raise £500,000 (over $700,000) for pioneering treatment to save Kelli.
So far, they had raised £335,000 ($471,000) in sales of charity raffle tickets, fun run events, and donations but Tom is not resting until the full amount is reached. He hopes this figure will be achieved before he passed away.
With donations from their family, friends, and the community, the couple has also gotten married in a simple ceremony and Kelli is now officially Kelli Attwater – something the girl is ecstatic about, especially because the new surname places her second in her classroom’s alphabetical list of names.