Halesowen schoolgirl's £1,000 money-spinner after death of pop star 'Uncle Tom'

A young relative of pop star Tom Parker is raising money to help find a cure for the disease he died from by making and selling dog treats.

Rosie with Tom when he was performing as Danny in Grease
Rosie with Tom when he was performing as Danny in Grease

Nine-year-old Rosie Parker, from Halesowen, has raised more than £1,000 for the charity Brain Tumour Research and was determined to continue with her plans despite Tom’s death a fortnight ago.

Singer and songwriter, Tom was just 33 when he died on March 30 after being diagnosed with a glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) in October 2020.

Rosie’s mum, Leanne Parker, 38, who is Tom’s cousin, said: "I am so proud of Rosie wanting to do her bit.

Annabelle and Rosie at their fundraising stall on April 1

"Ever since Tom was diagnosed, Rosie had wanted to do something to help her ‘Uncle Tom’, as she affectionately called him.

"She was determined to go ahead with the sale of her dog treats despite her heartbreak at having lost Tom.

"Rosie’s school was kind enough to let her host a stall with her best-friend, Annabelle, two days after he died."

Rosie on stage with Tom when he was performing as Danny in Grease

The family, which has a Staffordshire bull terrier called Harley Bear, has raised more than £1,000 for Brain Tumour Research, a charity Tom supported throughout his diagnosis.

On December 7 he opened the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Brain Tumours (APPGBT), sharing his story to campaign for increased Government spending into brain tumour research.

Leanne said: "I remember when we found out about Tom’s diagnosis and we couldn’t believe the lack of options for someone who has just been told they have a brain tumour.

Rosie set up shop in her street to sell dog biscuits and sold out in 90 minutes

"The whole family were looking online to see what more could be done to help Tom but we were astounded by the lack of treatment options for GBM patients.

"When Tom died our hearts were broken. To think that other families will receive the same diagnosis and there is still a lack of research around brain tumour treatment and diagnosis is devastating."

Rosie’s entrepreneurial efforts have been recognised by teachers and peers at her primary school, where she received a certificate of praise from the headteacher, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour more than a decade ago.

Leanne said: "The day we were due to host the fundraiser, Rosie woke up and said to me ‘We need to be strong like Tom – we need to be positive Parkers’, something he always used to say.

"She was inspired by his strength and I know she will go on to do all she can to fundraise to find a cure for this horrible disease."

Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet historically just one per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.

Rosie’s fundraiser can be found at justgiving.com/fundraising/leanne-parker13

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