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Strictly: The Wanted's Max George 'in bits' over Tom Parker’s terminal brain cancer

Mirror logo Mirror 4 days ago Frances Kindon
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Ever the professional, The Wanted's Max George won't be short of a smile when he tries to impress the judges on Strictly Come Dancing.

But behind his fancy footwork lies agonising grief as his bandmate and 'brother', Tom Parker' faces a terminal brain cancer diagnosis.

For five years the lads were joined at the hip, travelling the world and scoring hit after hit with the boyband created to rival One Direction.

And news of Tom's desperate situation has understandably knocked Max, 32, sideways.

It was Tom's pregnant wife Kelsey who called Max to share the tragic diagnosis to spare her husband from having to relive it over and over again.

Max George, Tom Parker posing for the camera: Max George is 'in bits' over Tom Parker's shock diagnosis © Mirrorpix Max George is 'in bits' over Tom Parker's shock diagnosis

And it was something Max - who is engaged to Ryan Gigg's ex Stacey - had never in a million years expected to hear.

Tom, 32, told OK! magazine: "Obviously all the boys were as shocked as we were. They are gutted by the news, but they’ve been incredibly supportive.

"Max was here last week. Siva and Nathan obviously live a lot further away, but all four of the boys have been texting regularly and sending through different articles and possible treatments and therapies that they’re all reading about."

When Tom and Max finally did chat, it was deeply emotional as both tried to make sense of the situation.

Tom continued: "When I spoke to Max he was in bits. We were in bits together."

Kelsey is due to give birth to their second child next month while Tom endures intensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy in a bid to shrink the mass and give him more time with his beloved family.

The first sign of trouble surfaced in July when Tom thought he'd suffered a seizure. He told OK! magazine that he'd been alone at the time so wasn't sure.

He had a sore back and a mark on his head and felt like he was concussed, and a second trip to A&E saw him placed on the waiting list for an MRI scan.

In the meantime, Tom, Kelsey and their 15 month old daughter Aurelia headed off on holiday in Norwich but while there, he suffered a second seizure and was given an immediate MRI.

a man and a woman taking a selfie: Tom's wife is due to give birth in four weeks © tomparkerofficial/Instagram Tom's wife is due to give birth in four weeks

After four days of tests, Tom received the news he never imagined he'd hear, and because of Covid, he had to face it alone.

He had stage four glioblastoma - an aggressive form of brain cancer - and it was terminal.

Tom told the magazine: "They pulled the curtain around my bed and said, 'It’s a brain tumour.' All I could think was, 'F*****g hell!' I was in shock. It was a lot to deal with by myself. I still haven’t processed it."

Kelsey added: "It was horrendous. They rang me and told me over the phone. They said, 'It’s a tumour and it’s worst-case scenario.' They also told us it was inoperable and what the treatment would be. I was in a complete state. My friend Kelsey was with me and she just said, 'Don’t pass out.' It was like everything stopped. Obviously being told you have any tumour is bad, but to be told you have the worst one is a lot to take in. All I could think was, 'What’s going to happen and what is our life now?'"

Heartbreakingly, the condition has an average life expectancy of three months to 18 months from diagnosis.

However, Kelsey told Tom's brother - who went in her place to the hospital - not to let the doctors tell him how long he had left because he would 'count down the days and not live his life'.

On top of that, the couple have been in touch with numerous people who were given just months to live but are still alive five years later.

And one person who is convinced Tom will make a recovery is his Max, who took to Instagram to praise the 'bravery' of his bandmate.

Max George in a pool of water: Max is currently competing on Strictly Come Dancing © PA Max is currently competing on Strictly Come Dancing

He wrote: "It’s obviously a devastating and scary time... but for those who don’t know Tom I will say this.

"There is nothing that he has ever given up on and has never taken no for an answer. His heart is the size of a lions, and it is his drive and passion that has always led The Wanted and made sure we are looked after the right way.

"Speaking as a brother, a friend and a band mate.. I know that you will conquer this as you have every other challenge you have ever faced. We are all on this journey together... and I can’t wait to get back on the stage with you and the boys and have a proper celebration when you’re better.

"You got this my man. I love you, Kels and all the family with all my heart and I’ll be right here."

And while Kelsey and Tom face one of the most harrowing chapters of their lives, both are looking forward to enjoying a bit of light relief in the form of Max on Strictly - especially given their bandmate Jay McGuiness' previous success on the show.

Tom added: "Max has a lot to live up to. Jay was wicked, but Max can turn it on. I think he’ll be surprisingly good."

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