The twins are receiving touching birthday messages from their late father after he left 30th birthday cards for his beloved girls.
In a touching gesture, Nick Keenan of Linfield wrote future birthday cards for his daughter Rose and Sophia, when they were just 17 months old.
The father of two was tragically dying of a brain tumor, but he wanted his twins to receive birthday messages from him every year.
The girls recently opened her birthday card from him, where he told them that they would start school soon and take care of each other.
She tragically passed away at age 34 in November 2020, nine months after being told her tumor had turned into a glioblastoma (GBM).
In a touching gesture, Nick Keenan, from Linfield, wrote birthday cards to his twin daughters for the next 30 years, as he died of a brain tumour.
Sophia and Rose recently celebrated their fourth birthday where they both opened a card from their late father.
Nick’s wife, Victoria Keenan, conceived her twin girls through IVF treatment
Nick was diagnosed with a tennis ball-sized astrocytoma in 2015 after weeks of suffering with pins and needles in his right arm.
She underwent two debulking surgeries, radiotherapy, infusion and oral chemotherapy, prescription cannabinoids, and a host of natural remedies.
Nick’s wife, Victoria, said: “Nick was everyone’s rock, and very much mine.”
“He was incredibly strong and went to work every day from his radiotherapy and chemotherapy, which inspired me.”
“He was also able to support me through IVF like any good husband would, even though he was going through much more important things. It was never about him.
“He was comforting others as he was dying and he wrote our girls, Rose and Sophia, birthday cards for the first 30 years of their lives.”
“He wanted to be with them in spirit as they celebrated their birthdays without him.”
“Hopefully, it will give you a better idea of where he was at that stage in his life.”
Nick was diagnosed with a tennis ball-sized astrocytoma in 2015 after experiencing punctures on his right arm.
Sadly he passed away at the age of 34 in November 2020, nine months after being told his tumor had turned into a glioblastoma.
Nick wanted his daughters to have birthday cards from him so they could be in spirit on their special days.
Victoria was at the gym when Nick returned early from a business trip and said he was going to the hospital.
The 35-year-old said: “When I walked into the room and saw that Nick had been crying, I knew something was wrong.”
WHAT IS A GLIOBLASTOMA?
Glioblastomas are the most common cancerous brain tumors in adults.
They grow quickly and are likely to spread.
The cause of glioblastomas is unknown, but it may be related to the patient’s genes if the mutations result in the cells growing out of control, forming a tumor.
Treatment is usually surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible, followed by a combination of radiation and chemotherapy (chemoradiation).
It can be difficult to remove all of the growth as glioblastomas have tendrils that spread to other regions of the brain. These are directed through chemoradiation.
Glioblastomas are often resistant to treatment, as they are usually made up of different types of cells. Therefore, the medication will kill some cells and not others.
Median survival time is between 12 and 18 months.
Source: The Brain Tumor Charity
“They sat me down and told me they found a tennis ball-sized lesion on the left side of his brain, in the middle of his frontal lobe.”
“They said it was slow growing and had probably been there since it was born.”
Nick’s surgery and subsequent radiation and chemotherapy treatment went so well that he and Victoria decided to go ahead with their plans to start a family.
Victoria said: “We just went on with our normal lives and thought we were winning, and that’s when we decided to go ahead with IVF.”
“Then in December 2019, when our girls were just six months old, Nick noticed that their speech had become slurred.”
“We contacted the doctor and ended up going back after Christmas.”
“I had a really weird feeling that it was going to be our last Christmas, so I organized the biggest celebration by inviting everyone to come and stay with us.”
“In March 2020 we found out that her tumor had turned into a glioblastoma (GBM) and we were told she likely had less than a year to live.
‘In fact, Nick lasted nine months from that GBM diagnosis.’
Nick underwent further treatment and was being considered for a clinical trial when he was told nothing more could be done.
After losing consciousness at home one night in November 2020, Nick was taken to a local hospice where he died the next morning.
Victoria said: “My parents dropped everything to look after the girls, who were sleeping, and I slept in a bed in the same room as Nick in the hospice, head to toe with his mother.”
Doctors told Nick in March 2020 that he likely had less than a year to live.
“I think the last thing he remembered was being at home with his family. He never really knew that he entered the hospice and died at 4 am the next morning.
“I got home at 6am, washed up, and continued to be a mom to our 17-month-old daughters, knowing that dad was no longer with us.”
Victoria bought Nick a miniature dachshund puppy after his diagnosis. That pup, named Poppy, died six months after Nick, also from a brain tumor.
‘I just couldn’t believe it; they were inseparable and I think they sent her to take care of him, so she went with him,” said Victoria, who is now urging people to sign a charity petition.
She is campaigning with Brain Tumor Research to help her petition to increase research funding reach 100,000 signatures, hoping to spark a parliamentary debate.
To sign and share the petition before it closes at the end of October 2023, go to www.braintumourresearch.org/petition