UNITED KINGDOM (WTXF) - A father from the United Kingdom has died from a terminal brain tumor after he spent his last days fighting to raise money for his stepdaughter, who is also battling cancer.
The Royal Sutton Coldfield Observer reported that Tom Attwater died on Tuesday after a lengthy battle with cancer.
The newspaper reported that Attwater spent his last days raising money for his stepdaughter, Kelli Smith. He and wife Joely Attwater also had a son together.
Kelli has battled neuroblastoma since she was just three months old.
"Kelli means everything to me and as her dad, I feel it is my role to help her in whatever way I can," Attwater told the newspaper before his death. "I know I won't always be here for Kelli and Joely and that is heartbreaking but I can make sure if Kelli needs treatment it is possible."
According to a news release from the Neuroblastoma Children's Cancer Alliance UK, Kelli began her fight with cancer shortly after birth.
Joely noticed that Kelli was crying frequently and took her to the doctor for testing.
Kelli was then diagnosed with neuroblastoma and endured a year of chemotherapy.
The treatment was a success, but Kelli's parents were warned that she had a high risk of relapse.
In 2012, Kelli's parents received the devastating news that their 3-year-old daughter's cancer had returned.
"It is the worst nightmare possible. We just knew we had to fight for Kelli and stay strong to give her the best chance of life we could," Tom and Joely Attwater said in the news release.
That same year, Tom Attwater learned that he had a brain tumor, adding to the family's heartache.
After he underwent surgery, doctors told him the tumor was cancerous, according to the Royal Sutton Coldfield Observer.
Attwater realized that he would die from the disease, but said that he knew he had to keep going for his family's sake.
"It is very, very hard at times to remain positive but Joely and Kelli always give me many reasons to smile and keep me going," he told the newspaper. "I really want Kelli to be proud of me one day and remember me fondly and that drives me on."
Kelli's second round of chemotherapy was successful, but Attwater knew that relapse was possible again. So, he set out to make sure that her healthcare bills would be taken care of before he died.
The family received support from the Neuroblastoma Children's Cancer Alliance UK and launched a fundraiser called the Kelli Smith Appeal.
According to the Royal Sutton Coldfield Observer, the fundraiser was heavily supported by their community, which hosted several events.
They raised $756,100, according to Buzzfeed.
"It meant an awful lot to me as a father and a husband to ensure we got there, no matter how much work it took and I feel like I've done my job now," Tom Attwater said. "I promised Joely we would reach the target and did not want to fail her or our little girl. For Kelli there is nothing I would not have done, no matter how difficult."
After Attwater's death, Joely posted a notice to Facebook.
It is with great sadness that I share with you all that my wonderful and amazing husband Tom Attwater passed away this...
She also said to the Shropshire Star, "Tom was my hero," she said. "His drive to help Kelli astounded all who knew him. Despite his extreme fatigue and daily seizures, he got out of bed every day to help fundraise. He wanted me to know that although he wouldn't live to any age, Kelli would have the very best chance of life."