Simon Thomas has revealed his former father-in-law has passed away following his battle with blood cancer.
The former Sky Sports presenter announced that his dead wife Gemma’s father, known as ‘Pompa” had died of Myeloma – a similar type of cancer which took the life of his partner.
The 45-year-old lost his wife Gemma, 40, to acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), just three days after she was diagnosed with the disease in November 24, 2017.
The latest tragedy is another devastating blow to the family, as Thomas revealed over Christmas that his son was struggling to get to grips with losing his mother.
In an emotional Instagram post this morning, Thomas said he son had asked him ‘Why do I keep losing everything I love?’
The loss of his grandfather could prove difficult for the youngster to deal with, as Thomas shared touching photos of Ethan and his grandfather hugging and joking with one another on his social media.
Simon Thomas posted a picture of his son Ethan with his grandfather ‘Pompa’, who passed away yesterday
Simon Thomas pictured with his wife Gemma in October 2015
In a post this morning, Thomas wrote: ‘Life can feel very cruel. Last night Gemma’s Dad’s life reached its end as Myeloma took its final toll.
‘It’s devastating for Rebecca who in fourteen months has lost half of her family to #bloodcancer and heartbreaking for Ethan who only a month ago said, “why do I keep losing everything I love?”
‘Now he’s lost the man with whom he had the most special of relationships – the man he called “Pompa”.’
Thomas shared three family photographs with Gemma’s father, with the first of his son kissing his grandfather on the cheek as they smile.
The second showed Ethan cuddling up to ‘Pompa’ as his grandfather looked down at his grandson.
Last month, in his first newspaper interview, Thomas revealed how Ethan wished he could have his mother back with him.
‘I asked him this morning what is the first thing that enters his brain when he wakes up. He replied, “How much I miss Mummy,”’ Thomas told the Mail on Sunday.
Thomas has spoken of how little Ethan gave him a reason to get out of bed in the morning and helped him through the one-year anniversary of her death.
He told the BBC: ‘A few weekends ago it was the first anniversary of Gemma going and he knew it was the anniversary but he wasn’t thinking about it in the same way that we were.
‘He just grabbed my arm on the Friday night and just said ‘Dad, just so you know, if you’re ever feeling sad over the weekend you can just come and find me and I’ll give you a big hug.’
‘I just thought, don’t think I’d have got through this without him. It gives you a reason to live.
‘He is my everything. Without him I don’t know what life would look like right now.’
Simon Thomas posted an emotional post on his Instagram this morning detailing his heartbreak
Another photograph of ‘Pompa’ and his grandson Ethan, which was shared on Simon Thomas’s Instagram today
Thomas has launched his own fund with Bloodwise, The Gemma Thomas Fund, with proceeds going to the charity.
The aim is to fight for earlier diagnosis of blood cancer, which causes more cancer-related deaths each year than breast or prostate cancer.
‘I want to bring good out of the wreckage of my life,’ he told The Mail on Sunday this week.
‘To help reduce the ignorance about blood cancer, not least because the symptoms are less specific than for other cancers.
‘People need to be persistent with their doctor and insist on a blood test. It can be the difference between living and dying.’
As is the case for thousands of patients, Gemma’s symptoms began as a series of common ailments; none of which sparked particular concern.
She had daily headaches, insomnia, exhaustion and felt generally run-down. They were all symptoms of busy, modern-day motherhood.
One of the three pictures which Thomas shared this morning on his Instagram
Three weeks before her death, Gemma tripped over a kerb and broke a bone in her foot.
Unsurprisingly, there was minor pain, but a bruise that remained three weeks after the accident caused concern.
The couple first visited the GP on Wednesday, November 15, to see if Gemma’s recurring headaches were a cause of concern.
Their doctor said he felt they were caused by a combination of insomnia and stress and the couple went home reassured.
But within 48 hours the headaches became excruciating. Gemma was now so exhausted she stayed in bed for most of the day.
What are the differences between Myeloma and Myeloid Leukemia?
Myeloma and myeloid leukemia are similar types of diseases which are both cancers that start in the bone marrow.
The two diseases have similar symptoms and some of the same drugs are used to fight the illness.
Myeloma can develop wherever there are plasma cells. So it can be anywhere there is bone marrow, including the pelvis, spine and ribcage. As it can occur in several places in the body, it is often called multiple myeloma.
Acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) is a type of blood cancer that starts from young white blood cells called granulocytes or monocytes in the bone marrow. Chemotherapy is the main treatment, you might also have a bone marrow or stem cell transplant.
Both diseases are rare forms of cancer in the UK. Each disease makes up less than two per cent of total cancer cases in the UK.
Credit: Cancer Research UK and NHS
The couple went back to their surgery where they saw a different GP, who took blood pressure, pulse rate and temperature but no blood tests.
But Gemma deteriorated further that weekend, becoming barely able to walk a few steps to the en suite bathroom. At 10am on Monday they were back at their GP practice.
Gemma saw their own doctor this time, but was again sent home. Later that day she began vomiting.
She was rushed to A&E at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading and was admitted that night.
Finally, the doctors performed the vital blood tests and, as the results were announced, Simon’s worst nightmare suddenly became true.
After being rushed to the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, she underwent a series of procedures in a bid to remove her affected cells – but it was too late.
He helped her to the toilet and was pleased when she fell asleep and could finally get some rest. She never woke up.
A few years ago Simon put Gemma on his life insurance policy, meaning he could stop working and become a full-time parent.
Just over a year since Gemma’s passing, Thomas is claimed to be in a new relationship with the daughter of a Christian minister.
Thomas, an avid Christian himself, is said to have struck up a relationship with Derrina Jebb, who is said to have comforted Thomas and in son following a difficult 12 months.
A source told The Sun that relationship ‘came as a shock’ as Thomas was not looking for another at the time, but the pair ‘had a connection’.
He said: ‘I’ve got two choices. Give up – I can’t do that, I don’t want to do that, I’ve got a boy to bring up, I promised Gemma. The only other choice then is you walk’