Simon Thomas posts heartbreaking snap after losing wife
- Mr Thomas lived happily in the Berkshire home he shared with his wife Gemma, 40, and their eight-year-old son Ethan until her untimely death in November
- Mrs Thomas was diagnosed with myeloid leukaemia and died three days later
- In his first TV appearance since her death – and wearing his wife's wedding ring – he reduced hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield to tears on This Morning
Published: 21:20 GMT, 28 February 2018 | Updated: 21:43 GMT, 28 February 2018
Sky Sports presenter Simon Thomas has shared a heartbreaking post on Instagram as he and his child face mother's day without wife Gemma, who they lost to cancer.
It came after he made an emotional return to the TV screens yesterday, when he appeared on This Morning to recall the death of his wife.
Mr Thomas, 45, lived happily in the Berkshire home he shared with his wife Gemma, 40, and their eight-year-old son Ethan until her untimely death in November last year. His emotional post of cards and gifts bears the caption: 'We just want her to be here.'
Mrs Thomas was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia and died 'surrounded by her family and friends' three days later.
In his first TV appearance since her death – and wearing his wife's wedding ring – Mr Thomas reduced hostsHolly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield to tears as he spoke about the moment he had to tell Ethan that his mother had died.
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Sky Sports presenter Simon Thomas wore his wife's wedding ring on his finger on the show
In his first TV appearance since her death – and wearing his wife's wedding ring – he reduced hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield to tears as he spoke about the moment he had to tell Ethan that his mother had died
Mr Thomas, 45, lived happily in the Berkshire home he shared with his wife Gemma, 40, and their eight-year-old son Ethan until her untimely death in November last year
Mr Thomas (right) said it was hard for Ethan because he has lost his mother and is an only child
This Morning presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield were reduced to tears in the interview
He told the ITV show: 'I left the hospital. I woke up every patient there and I screamed at God 'why have you left my boy without a mum?'.
'I thought I've got to go home and tell him his mum's gone. What I didn't give him credit for is that kids – they develop so much in 18 months. My heart was pounding. I didn't tell Ethan that she was going, I just told him 'mummy is seriously ill'.
'I took him through and I held him to her ear. He said he loved her and then he went to play with his cousins.
'I thought I've got to tell him so I took him upstairs and looked into his deep brown eyes and said 'Ethan I'm really sorry – they couldn't make mummy better'. And I couldn't dress it up – I said 'mummy's died'.
'He collapsed onto the floor and I did too and I just held him. I rolled on the floor with him. I would never ever wish that on my worst enemy.'
Holly and Phil had to pause the interview for a short after becoming overcome with emotion.
The pair grabbed tissues from the coffee table to wipe their tears away.
Sky Sports presenter Simon Thomas made an emotional return to the TV screens today as he appeared on This Morning to recall the death of his wife
Holly Willoughby was overcome with emotion as Simon Thomas gave his first TV interview following the death of his wife, Gemma
Mr Thomas also revealed he was initially angry with their GP for not spotting the cancer signs earlier.
But last week he met with the doctor to talk it over with him and clear the air.
He said: 'She'd had headaches for a few weeks. I did say a few times to her "this headache is going on for a while and you need to go to the doctor".
'We actually had a joint appointment, mainly for medication for my depression. She came in and I said "look she's been having these headaches for a while, are you worried?"
Mr Thomas (right) said it was especially difficult for their son Ethan, left, who desperately misses his mother, especially during important periods of his life
'And he said – and I completely understand this – "a lot of it is down to the stress as she is stressed about you".
'By the Friday she was really quite bad – and women do ill better than men. But for her to be in bed the whole time was unusual and by Friday she went back to the doctors. He checked her over.
'And I can understand why he didn't think anything was wrong – they were quite general symptoms. She had a headache and felt a bit fluey. But she spent the whole of that weekend in bed.
'And she went back to the doctors on Monday. And I think it's quite important I say this because I had a lot of anger towards our GP initially but I've since sat down with him last week and talked to him.
Mr Thomas said his son really missed his mother when he was a mascot at Norwich FC
'My stomach turned over': Simon Thomas reveals heartbreaking moment his son asked him if he would ever remarry
Simon Thomas said his 'stomach turned over' when his young son Ethan asked if he would find love again.
During a radio interview Simon Thomas said his 'stomach turned over' when his young son Ethan asked if he would find love again.
Mr Thomas told BBC Radio 5 live's Anna Foster: 'I knew we had to have the conversation. I want to give him permission to talk about stuff.
'I'm not going to close the door, because when you close the door bit by bit, the door shuts, then they know they have no one to talk to at home.'
When Anna asked how he replied, Mr Thomas said: 'I'm not going to lie. I have thought about it.
'I'm not very good at being on my own. I had a year living on my own. I don't enjoy my own company. I just don't enjoy being on my own.
'So I said, one day you'll go out and have a job, so maybe I will. But I have to find someone who likes me first of all and hopefully loves me.'
Mr Thomas, who is the son of a vicar, has found comfort in his faith but is aware he is still in the very early days of mourning. 'I've gone in the space of three days from being a Dad, from being a husband, to being single.'
He has recently revealed he had issues with depression and told 5 live that he has found that sharing this information has supported others too.
'I felt I wanted to talk about it, and again – I thought a lot about Ethan, you know, in terms of – I didn't ever attempt to take my life, but as a lot of people do, I thought about it.
'And I came quite close to thinking, how do I do it? So I was aware that Ethan may in years to come see this. But I just felt that this is an area – it's a time bomb.'
'I spoke to Dr Andy here and he told me that had she gone in 24 hours earlier, had he sent her to hospital that Monday – it wouldn't have made any difference to the outcome that happened on the Friday.
'That gave me a sense of weight coming off my shoulders in terms of the doctor. I wanted to sit down with him and say 'what did she say?' because she, being Gemma – which is always putting others before herself – insisted at 9am that morning I went to my councillor for my depression. Even though she had been so ill over the weekend.
'He told me what she said and she never told him that she'd been in bed all weekend. She didn't tell him that she was exhausted walking three steps from our bed to the bathroom.
'Had I been there I would have said that. But I was able to say to him 'I'm sorry that I was angry with you. You were acting on only what you saw and what she told. Look I bear you no grudge' and I gave him a big hug.'
Mr Thomas continued that when they went to hospital, his world came crashing down when she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia
Mr Thomas was joined by Gemma's consultant Dr Andy Peniket who explained more about the illness
Mr Thomas continued that when they went to hospital, his world came crashing down when she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia.
'On the Monday night at the Royal Berkshire [hospital]… I fainted. We knew it was a blood cancer of some sort, it's a leukaemia of some sort… we thought we are probably ok, people get better from this. It all cart wheeled quite quickly.'
Mr Thomas took his son to school to try and keep things as normal as possible but while he was travelling back to the Royal Berkshire, he received a text saying she was being transferred to Oxford for immediate treatment.
Mr Thomas admitted this would be tough for himself and his son to move on but when the time is right he is going to raise money for charity in his wife's memory
The couple were then told her chances of survival were 50/50 and she was given chemotherapy.
He said: 'That's a hammer blow. But actually you look at it and think there's 50 per cent chance that she will get better. That's what you go for. It was encouraging. The white blood cell count was coming down.
'My last conversation with her (taking her to the loo), when you hear of people getting ill and being told they have weeks or months to live you have those chances to talk about it to try and at least get your head round it and have those final conversations.
'I never had that. I took her to the loo at 4.30 in the morning, she had been perfectly fine the night before.
'Over that night she became more and more confused. I put her back in to bed at about 4.30am.
'That was the last time I spoke to her. I thought she was going to sleep but as I found out she was falling unconscious and I never had the chance to even say goodbye.'
He concluded: 'Plan A was shredded. I'm just trying to work out how to say goodbye to Plan A. How do you move on? You can't just move on. There is so much to process. When I'm ready to move on… then I'll look at Plan B.'
Ethan Thomas with his mother Gemma in a picture posted online by Simon – Gemma tragically died of leukaemia last November
He added some people didn't know what to say to him in the aftermath.
He said: 'Some don't want to get it wrong, so they stay quiet. I wanted to let people know.'
Mr Thomas admitted this would be tough for himself and his son to move on but when the time is right he is going to raise money for charity in his wife's memory.
'I have to do something in the memory of Gemma.'
Mr Thomas was joined by Gemma's consultant Dr Andy Peniket who explained more about the illness.
Gemma Peters, chief executive of Bloodwise, added: 'We are so grateful to Simon for sharing his personal story to raise awareness of blood cancer.
'Acute myeloid leukaemia is a highly aggressive type of blood cancer which often develops rapidly. Survival rates remain unacceptably low in the UK with only 15% of patients surviving for 5 years, and so early diagnosis is absolutely crucial.
'Despite being the 5th most common cancer and 3rd biggest cause of cancer deaths, public awareness of blood cancer remains dangerously low.
'Yet given blood cancer claims more lives each year than either breast or prostate cancer, it is vital that GPs and the public improve their understanding of potential symptoms, and that research and clinical trials to find new treatments are fully supported.
'Awareness initiatives, GP education, and ongoing investment in research were key recommendations proposed last month by MPs on the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Blood Cancer.
'Bloodwise will continue to work closely with politicians, NHS decision makers, and professional health bodies to ensure early diagnosis and increased public awareness remain at the top of the blood cancer agenda.'
What is acute myeloid leukaemia?
Acute myeloid leukaemia is an aggressive and rare form of blood cancer.
The symptoms of AML usually develop over a few weeks and become more severe.
According to NHS Choices, the symptoms include:
- Pale Skin
- Frequent infections
- Unusual and frequent bleeding – including the gums and nosebleeds
In advanced cases, patients are incredibly vulnerable to life-threatening infections and internal bleeding.
If a GP suspects leukaemia, they will arrange a blood test to determine blood cell production.
In AML, stem cells within the patient's bone marrow produce too many immature white blood cells, which are not capable of fighting infection.
This also can lead to a decrease in production of the oxygen-carrying red blood cells and platelets that help the blood to clot.
Each year around 2,600 people in the UK are diagnosed with blood cancer.
After diagnosis, patients need urgent chemotherapy due to the aggressive nature of the cancer.
In some cases, radiotherapy may be needed along with a bone marrow or stem cell transplant.
Source: NHS Choices