Like many of those who are terminally ill, Tom Attwater wanted to leave something behind for his daughter – so he gave her some of his words to live by. The British gentleman has surely experienced enough to know that time is of the essence. He is currently fighting a battle with a brain tumor that he will likely lose and his 5-year-old stepdaughter Kelli has already beaten cancer twice since being initially diagnosed when she was just three months old.
Even if he isn’t around anymore, Tom recently decided he wanted to be there for Kelli after he’s gone. The thoughtful father partnered with Families Against Neuroblastoma to try to raise more than $800,000 to ensure treatment for Kelli in the United States if she ever relapsed. The determined father has so far raised about $350,000 of his goal.
Last month Tom wrote his beloved daughter an open letter. Warning: It will make you cry!
The letter started off with, “Most dads and daughters have decades to chat around the kitchen table, their hands warmed by mugs of coffee, as the dad dishes out advice and their girls no doubt roll their eyes. We don’t have that time. I won’t be able to drop you off on your first day at big school, pick you up after your first date, hold you when your heart hurts or cheer when you graduate.
“But while your old dad is still around I thought I’d try to give you some life advice in one go,” he continued. “I hope it gives you some comfort. I hope cancer never returns so that your life is long, fulfilled and happy.”
The loving dad gives his little girl fatherly advice as only a father could, telling her to keep balanced by working hard as well as to have fun, and tells her to be careful of boys that are heartbreakers. He tells her no matter what that family is important and simply requests for her first Christmas without him to light a candle, remembering him for a few minutes.
He also gives her sound advice on being herself and encourages her to travel. Tom also wrote about Kelli’s wedding day, a day that he will undoubtedly have to miss physically.
“I often dreamt about your wedding day and imagined filling up with tears as I walked you down the aisle before giving you away. I won’t be able to do that Kelli. Sorry sweetheart,” he wrote. “But I will be looking over your shoulder on that day, proud and happy you have found a special someone to love you and care for you.”
Most of all, Tom said, is that Kelli should enjoy her life, and that he will be waiting for her at the end of it.
“Thank you for paying me the biggest compliment of all time by calling me Daddy,” he wrote. “Having you as my daughter is the greatest honour of my life. Thank you for teaching me more about love and happiness than any other person.”