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Brain tumour patient wed Tunisian toyboy 18 years younger





Brain tumour patient wed Tunisian toyboy 18 years younger Brain tumour patient wed Tunisian toyboy 18 years younger
  • Kathleen Khalili, 46, from Scotland met Amir on holiday in Port El Kantaoui
  • She was suffering from tumour on her pituitary gland
  • Then 43, she agreed to date with Amie, 25, thinking she had nothing to lose
  • Couple are now happily married and hoping to have baby with donor egg  

A holidaymaker took a chance on romance with a Tunisian man 18 years her junior – because she thought she was dying of a brain tumour and wanted to 'fight for her chance of happiness'.

Kathleen Khalili, 46, has now said it was the best thing she ever did – because three years on she is married to Amir, 28, and they live together in Inverclyde, Scotland.

'I never thought it could be like this,' said Kathleen, who works for a phone company, claiming that she has her 'brain tumour' to thank for her marriage.

But, sadly, the couple are missing 'the final part of the puzzle' – a baby – as the tumour has left her infertile.

Kathleen Khalili, 46, from Inverclyde, Scotland with her Tunisian husband Amir, 28, who she met on holiday near Sousse  Kathleen Khalili, 46, from Inverclyde, Scotland with her Tunisian husband Amir, 28, who she met on holiday near Sousse 

Kathleen Khalili, 46, from Inverclyde, Scotland with her Tunisian husband Amir, 28, who she met on holiday near Sousse 

Kathleen went in to hospital in April 2014 to have the growth on her pituitary gland removed Kathleen went in to hospital in April 2014 to have the growth on her pituitary gland removed

Kathleen went in to hospital in April 2014 to have the growth on her pituitary gland removed

Now, she is appealing for help, as while she is physically able to carry a baby, she is not eligible for fertility treatment as NHS Great Glasgow and Clyde said you must be less than 42 years of age on the date of your doctor's referral.

The couple have an egg donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, so it is just a case of finding the funds to have the egg fertilised and implanted.

 

Kathleen doesn't agree with the cut off point for fertility treatment. 

She thinks her and Amir would make wonderful parents: 'People live until they are in their 80s,' she said. 'Amir is a lot younger with me so we would be with our child.

Kathleen spent hundreds of pounds on flights to Tunisia, to visit Amir, 18 years her junior as their relationship blossomed Kathleen spent hundreds of pounds on flights to Tunisia, to visit Amir, 18 years her junior as their relationship blossomed

Kathleen spent hundreds of pounds on flights to Tunisia, to visit Amir, 18 years her junior as their relationship blossomed

The happy couple are now hoping to have a baby together using a donor egg, after Kathleen's treatment left her infertile  The happy couple are now hoping to have a baby together using a donor egg, after Kathleen's treatment left her infertile 

The happy couple are now hoping to have a baby together using a donor egg, after Kathleen's treatment left her infertile 

'I think I've got as much right as anyone else to be a mum.'

Kathleen was first diagnosed with the tumour in June 2013 at Inverclyde Hospital, after suffering debilitating migraines for more than a decade.

The crippling headaches would leave her incapacitated for weeks on end, unable to move or see.

After multiple blood tests she eventually had a scan, which revealed a growth on her pituitary gland – situated just behind the nose and attached to the brain by a thin stalk.

Kathleen's sisters (left to right) Anne and Fiona, with Amir, when they visited the couple for their wedding in October 2015 Kathleen's sisters (left to right) Anne and Fiona, with Amir, when they visited the couple for their wedding in October 2015

Kathleen's sisters (left to right) Anne and Fiona, with Amir, when they visited the couple for their wedding in October 2015

'I was terrified,' explained Kathleen. 'I immediately assumed I was going to die.'

Doctors decided to monitor the tumour's growth and a scan a few months later indicated it was gradually increasing in size.

'Surgery was booked for April 2014,' Kathleen said.

In the meantime, she and a pal decided to visit Port El Kantaoui, a tourist complex near Sousse in Tunisia, for a much-needed winter sun break.

Kathleen had heard rumours of Tunisian men exploiting British women for money, but Amir's kind personality won her over Kathleen had heard rumours of Tunisian men exploiting British women for money, but Amir's kind personality won her over

Kathleen had heard rumours of Tunisian men exploiting British women for money, but Amir's kind personality won her over

Amir is now settled with Kathleen in Inverclyde, Scotland where he works in a local McDonald's Amir is now settled with Kathleen in Inverclyde, Scotland where he works in a local McDonald's

Amir is now settled with Kathleen in Inverclyde, Scotland where he works in a local McDonald's

There, on the fourth day, a young Tunisian ticket-seller caught her eye. It was Amir – who was just 25 to Kathleen's 43.

'Of course I'd heard all the gossip about Tunisian men being after older women for their money,' she said. 'But I got chatting to Amir and he was lovely.' 

Normally, she would have left it there. But because of the tumour, Kathleen decided to agree to go on a date with Amir – something she wouldn't have done previously.

Amir's visa application was confirmed in November 2015 and he  moved to the UK in the December after months of preparation  Amir's visa application was confirmed in November 2015 and he  moved to the UK in the December after months of preparation 

Amir's visa application was confirmed in November 2015 and he moved to the UK in the December after months of preparation 

'I had nothing to lose,' she laughed. 'I thought I was going to die. I was determined to pursue my second chance.'

Kathleen told her dubious friend that she and Amir would see each other again – making sure of it when, just weeks later, she boarded another flight to Sousse.

'I felt like Shirley Valentine,' she laughed. 'But it was the right thing to do.'

This time she stayed with Amir, who now works in McDonald's in Inverclyde.

She visited again in November 2013 and in February and April 2014, spending hundreds of pounds on flights.

Kathleen admits she felt like Shirley Valentine when she first met Amir, but felt pursuing their relationship was 'the right thing to do' Kathleen admits she felt like Shirley Valentine when she first met Amir, but felt pursuing their relationship was 'the right thing to do'

Kathleen admits she felt like Shirley Valentine when she first met Amir, but felt pursuing their relationship was 'the right thing to do'

The couple are fundraising to fertilise a donor egg with sperm to enable them to start a family The couple are fundraising to fertilise a donor egg with sperm to enable them to start a family

The couple are fundraising to fertilise a donor egg with sperm to enable them to start a family

Despite their cultural and religious differences – Amir is Muslim – and the age gap, a relationship blossomed.

She also clicked with Amir's family, including his mother, Fatma, who in her 50s is not much older than her.

'They welcomed me with open arms,' she smiled 'My family were supportive too.'

In April 2014, weeks after waving goodbye to Amir, she headed to Inverclyde Hospital to have the tumour removed. Under anaesthetic for four hours, it was totally cut away and filled in with tissue from her leg.

Despite the age gap and cultural differences, romance quickly blossomed between Amir and Kathleen  Despite the age gap and cultural differences, romance quickly blossomed between Amir and Kathleen 

Despite the age gap and cultural differences, romance quickly blossomed between Amir and Kathleen 

It cured her illness, but had a long-lasting impact on her fertility, as the pituitary gland is the hormone powerhouse of the body – and they are essential for egg production.

'We called the tumour 'The Sprout',' she laughed. 'Amir was more worried than me.'

Then, in June, while she was visiting him, Amir proposed.

The couple had been at the beach all day when he got down on one knee with a ring. 'I wasn't expecting it – I was in my bikini and shorts,' she laughed.

A bear that Kathleen's colleagues made her to wish her well with her surgery A bear that Kathleen's colleagues made her to wish her well with her surgery

A bear that Kathleen's colleagues made her to wish her well with her surgery

They married in October 2015, against the backdrop of the Tunisian terror attacks, where more than 30 British citizens were killed.

'We'd intended to marry on a beach near Sousse and had it all arranged,' she said. 'All our family were due to fly over and I was so excited.

'But after the terror attacks they all fell out. I understood.'

In the end just her two sisters, Fiona, 42 and Anne 49, attended and they married in a villa.

Amir proposed to Kathleen during a day on the beach and they married in October 2015 Amir proposed to Kathleen during a day on the beach and they married in October 2015

Amir proposed to Kathleen during a day on the beach and they married in October 2015

Kathleen went in to hospital in April 2014 to have the growth on her pituitary gland removed Kathleen went in to hospital in April 2014 to have the growth on her pituitary gland removed

Kathleen went in to hospital in April 2014 to have the growth on her pituitary gland removed

Amir moved to the UK in December 2015 after months of preparation. The couple had to demonstrate they were in a genuine relationship, providing letters from family, friends, records of text messages, phone calls and letters to the immigrations officials.

Kathleen said their lives were now perfect except for one thing – her infertility.

Now, via GoFundMe, she is appealing for people to help her and Amir have a baby.

Speaking poignantly, she said: 'It breaks our hearts. I've recently been referred to Glasgow Hospital, who advised that with egg donation, I can carry a baby, and we can have a chance at having our miracle.

'We are extremely happy, there is one final piece to our puzzle that's missing, and that's a family of our own.' 

 

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka
Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

Chuka is an experienced certified web developer with an extensive background in computer science and 18+ years in web design &development. His previous experience ranges from redesigning existing website to solving complex technical problems with object-oriented programming. Very experienced with Microsoft SQL Server, PHP and advanced JavaScript. He loves to travel and watch movies.

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