The Wanted star Tom Parker grants exclusive interview to fellow young brain tumour patient from Luton

'Sadly, it often takes a celebrity being affected by an issue to make people stop and listen'

Friday, 15th October 2021, 4:33 pm
Updated Friday, 15th October 2021, 4:58 pm

The Wanted singer Tom Parker granted an exclusive and emotional interview to a young Luton woman diagnosed with the same type of deadly brain tumour as him.

The boy band star spoke to Amani Liaquat, a staunch campaigner and fundraiser for Brain Tumour Research, in a frank interview recorded during a day of filming for the Channel 4 documentary Tom Parker: Inside My Head, which aired on Sunday, October 10.

Like Amani, last year Tom was diagnosed with a terminal grade 4 glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) and both have since campaigned to raise awareness of the need for greater funding for research into brain tumours and better treatment options under the NHS.

During the 23-year-old’s powerful 40-minute interview with Tom, the latest in a series of Chat2Amani podcasts hosted on the Fight4Amani YouTube channel, the pair talk about:

> Their shared fear of death and facing up to their mortality at a young age

> The severe lack of funding for brain tumours and the need for massive improvement

> The legacies they hope to leave behind

Tom Parker and Amani Liaquat of Luton

> The mental resilience required to cope with their diagnoses

> The importance of family and re-evaluating the meaning of life

‘Excited’ about the release of her ‘very special’ podcast episode, Amani said: “One of the hashtags I use for my podcast is #BrainBabble and this one, more than any of my others, was truly just that – it is a really natural conversation between Tom and me.

“It does cover our cancer journeys and thoughts about this disease, treatment options, faith, fear of death and lack of investment into brain cancer research in the UK, but despite covering some very heavy topics and emotions, the chat is still surprisingly light-hearted and funny at times.”

She added: “Sadly, it often takes a celebrity being affected by an issue to make people stop and listen. I wish it wasn't Tom having to go through this journey as I totally understand how difficult the journey can be, but far too many people are dying in the UK because the treatment options have not changed in the past 20 years.

“Many families, like my own, are having to take the medical care of their loved ones into their own hands by raising hundreds of thousands of pounds to seek treatment in Europe or the US. I hope all the major ways that Tom can raise awareness, and in some way my small contribution with this podcast, can help make a change and ultimately save lives.”

The recording of the podcast coincided with the end of Ramadan and so Tom was invited to ‘break the fast’ with Amani and her family as they shared a meal together in the Liaquats’ Luton home.

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For Amani campaigning has included featuring in the Brain Tumour Research Stop The Devastation campaign and helping to generate the 100,000 signatures required for its Level Up and stop the devastation petition, which called on the Government to increase the national investment into brain tumour research.

She and her family have set up the fundraising group Fight4Hope to raise funds to support vital research in order to find treatments that will provide hope for Amani and all patients facing a brain tumour diagnosis.

Amani said: “I admire Tom so much for his decision to put his life in front of the cameras during the most difficult time in his life – that takes great courage and a strong selfless attitude. He wants to share his story in the hope that he can help others in a similar situation and raise awareness of the lack of investment and treatment options for brain cancer under the NHS.”

Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer yet historically just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.

Hugh Adams, head of stakeholder relations for Brain Tumour Research, said: “Amani is an impressive young woman, who campaigns tirelessly alongside us to help raise awareness of the need for greater investment in research into brain tumours whilst battling her own illness.

"Tom continues to use his fame for good, speaking openly about his diagnosis and the desperate lack of funding into this area of cancer research. We wish both of them all the very best as they continuing fighting this cruel disease.

“Pioneering research at our Centre of Excellence at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) is focused on using GBM stem cells to help develop unique, patient-specific treatments. This project is set to be of global significance in the race to find a cure. We also fund BRAIN UK at Southampton University, the country’s only national tissue bank registry providing crucial access to brain tumour samples for researchers and an essential component in the fight to find a cure for GBM.”

Brain Tumour Research funds sustainable research at dedicated centres in the UK. It also campaigns for the Government and the larger cancer charities to invest more in research into brain tumours in order to speed up new treatments for patients and, ultimately, to find a cure. The charity is calling for a national annual spend of £35 million in order to improve survival rates and patient outcomes in line with other cancers such as breast cancer and leukaemia and is also campaigning for greater repurposing of drugs.

To listen to Amani’s podcast with Tom, visit https://youtu.be/8agdD9JiU2g