Gazette pays tribute to Inspirational Tom Bowdidge

The following article has been reproduced here with kind permission from the Gazette.

Inspirational Tom, 19, passes away after raising £100,000 for charity

Inspirational Tom

THE PROUD family of a fun-loving teenager have praised their “phenomenal” son.

Tom Bowdidge, 19, died on Friday. He had been diagnosed with a rare, aggressive stomach cancer last summer.  While undergoing treatment the West Bergholt resident raised £100,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust.  As well as shaving off his hair for the charity, he organised fundraising events and even featured on a song to raise awareness.

Proud parents Nikki and Richard Bowdidge and sister Emma were at his side when he passed away on Friday.

Mum Nikki said:

I asked him what we were going to do without him and he said ‘you’re going to crack on’.

We were privileged to be able to say goodbye to him.

The fact we were able to hold his hand when he took his last breath, there’s something comforting in that, that we talked him through it.

Tom had come to terms with it, he was at peace. He said ‘we have been dealt these cards and now we have got to get on with it’.

There was one clear message when Tom was feeling poorly, he said ‘I never want to see it written I lost my battle with cancer.  I haven’t lost anything, it no longer has a body to live in so the cancer committed suicide’.

Tom’s final wishes were that we were to ‘crack on’ and we are going to endeavor to do that.

Tom, a former Colchester Royal Grammar School sixth-former, was at work last summer when he collapsed.  Doctors initially thought he had appendicitis.  Less than 24 hours later they broke the news he had a large tumour in his abdomen.  He underwent several lengthy bouts of chemotherapy, all the time continuing to fundraise.

Teenage Cancer Trust has ringfenced the money Tom has raised to spend on refurbishing the ward where he received his treatment, at University College London Hospital.

Dad Richard said:

We are overwhelmingly proud of Tom and couldn’t be more so.

I’m going to carry on fundraising. From my perspective Tom’s legacy is that the work and support the Teenage Cancer Trust provided Tom and us with carries on for other people who go through this, no matter what road they take.

He got to see the plans and even put his own influence on them, which meant a lot to him.

Tom’s funeral will be held at St Mary the Virgin Church, West Bergholt, on Wednesday, October 30 at noon.

Everyone has been asked to wear a hint of blue, Tom’s favourite colour.

Nikki added:

Tom often used to say ‘carpe diem’. And he’s right, you should seize the day.

Tom’s legacy is also about not worrying what the future holds, living every day for today.

He was absolutely phenomenal.

Since Tom’s death wellwishers have gone to his fundraising page to donate in his memory.

To sponsor him go to justgiving.com/Tom-Bowdidge.

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