THE wife of a terminally ill father who may only have one year left to live has questioned: “How do I tell my children their daddy is not going to see them grow up?”

Austen Welham, 45, from Colchester, was rushed to the A&E department of Colchester Hospital last month before having two seizures.

After discovering a weakness in one side of his body doctors decided to carry out a CT scan which led to the devastating discovery of a tumour on Austen’s brain.

Following a biopsy, the father-of three was diagnosed with having a rare and high-grade neuroepithelial tumour which was found to have already rapidly spread.

As a result, Austen and partner of ten years and wife of five, Louise, 40, were told an operation to remove the mass was no longer an option.

Austen has now been given a maximum 18 months to live, during which time he must endure chemotherapy and possibly radiotherapy in order to prolong his life.


Louise said: “We were always under the impression it was a low-grade tumour, but a professor picked up it might be this rarer case, which was confirmed last Thursday.

“It just shook everything because you do not go in the office expecting a death sentence, so everything has since been such an emotional rollercoaster.

“We are just shocked because we were not expecting that news and he now has to deal with things he shouldn’t have to deal with for at least another 30 years.

“We have two children together who are seven and nine, I have three children of my own and Austen has another daughter as well.

“They are aware daddy is poorly and going to have lots of treatment, but how do I tell my children their daddy is not going to see them grow up?”

Since Austen’s tragic diagnosis, Louise’s colleagues at Colchester Hospital, where she works as a healthcare assistant, have launched a fundraiser to support her family.

The campaign, spearhead by Alea Pulham, has already generated more than £1,300, smashing its initial £1,000 target within days.

Alea said: “Louise and Austen have tested by some of life’s worst struggles but have stuck together throughout.

“We, as Louise’s colleagues and friends, want to help her and her family out any way we, so that is why we have started the fundraising page.

“Whether it is helping them make memories together or just paying the bills when things are tight, we want to be there.”


Louise has been bowled over by the camaraderie of the community and says the support shown is making an extremely difficult time, a little bit easier.

“It has just been amazing and overwhelming because people who we do not even know have donated,” added a grateful Louise, who worked throughout the pandemic.

“This is the worse time of our lives, but we cannot thank people enough for their support and the hospital has done so much for us and we want to thank to everyone.”

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