A BURNLEY dad-of-two who is suffering from a rare form of terminal cancer has blasted “heartless thugs and cowardly scum” who vandalised his car which he needs for vital chemotherapy appointments.
On Wednesday Tom Cooper (24) and his girlfriend Tammy Dale (23) discovered white paint had been poured all over the front of their Ford Fiesta, including the windscreen, and it had been scratched down one side.
No other cars near their home, in Greenbrook Road, had been damaged and the couple, who live with their two daughters, Tienna (4) and 17-month-old Ziani, believe they were deliberately targeted on Tuesday night or in the early hours of Wednesday.
Tom managed to clean the paint off the windscreen with white spirit so they could use the car but said his illness means he has no energy for even the smallest everyday tasks. Tom’s cancer, which is rare in the UK, was only diagnosed two months ago, despite medics telling him he had had it for two years without knowing. And he has been told it is in the advanced stages, spreading to his neck, collarbone, and lymph nodes.
Nail technician Tammy, who attended Fisher More High School in Nelson, said: “The last few months have been emotional and a big shock for all of us.
“Nobody wants an illness like that but he’s so young and it’s in the advanced stages. The doctor said he has never seen anything like this in someone so young. All this has happened right before Christmas and we’ve got two young children. The last thing we want if he’s having treatment and has a funny turn is to be without our car.”
Former Habergham High School pupil Tom, who was working as a painter and decorator until recently, is suffering from nasopharyngeal carcinoma, which is more common in Africa and East Asia and starts in the upper part of the throat, behind the nose. He is currently having gruelling chemotherapy sessions and is due to start a six-week course of chemoradiotherapy – a combination of chemotherapy and radiotherapy – after Christmas but has been told the cancer cannot be cured.
“We’ve got a lot going on at the moment and it is just upsetting,” said Tammy.
The couple have reported the incident to police and have been advised to get CCTV but said they cannot afford to have the damage repaired. They have been told that any claim on their insurance will result in an increase in premium.
“There’s quite a few people who know what’s going on in our lives at the moment. Whoever’s done it might know about Tom’s illness. To come and do this is just disgusting. If anyone has seen or heard anything, please tell the police,” added Tammy.
l Anyone with information can contact police on 01282 425001 or Crimestoppers, in confidence, on 0800 555 111.