Simon Thomas has revealed that he is taking a break from social media, a day after announcing that he had found love again a year after his wife’s death.
The 45-year-old TV presenter took to Instagram on Wednesday night to share a calming seascape image at sunrise, which featured ‘taking a break’ sprawled across the bottom left-hand corner.
Signalling the dawn of a new day in his life, he captioned the shot: ‘Will be back in a couple of weeks to tell you about a new role I am taking on with @bloodwise…’
Taking a break: Simon Thomas has revealed that he is taking a break from social media, a day after announcing that he had found love again a year after his wife’s death
‘And a big challenge I’m attempting next summer to raise money and awareness for #bloodcancer God Bless and thanks for some very lovely support yesterday.’
His announcement comes after Simon revealed he is in ‘the early stages’ of a new relationship, a year after the death of his wife, Gemma, to cancer when she was just aged 40.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, the ex sports presenter, who moved millions with his heartbreaking comments in the wake of his wife’s death, said his new relationship has been ‘an incredible support’ for him on Tuesday.
The father-of-one admitted he could be falling in love, but said Gemma could never be replaced, saying: ‘I’m very aware she was someone I didn’t know before and have got to know over the last few weeks and months.
Moving on: His announcement comes after Simon revealed he is in ‘the early stages’ of a new relationship, a year after the death of his wife, Gemma, to cancer when she was just aged 40
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Will be back in a couple of weeks to tell you about a new role I am taking on with @bloodwise and a big challenge I’m attempting next summer to raise money and awareness for #bloodcancer God Bless and thanks for some very lovely support yesterday.
Finding happiness: Ex Sky Sports presenter Simon Thomas told BBC Radio 5 Live he is in the ‘early stages’ of a new relationship a year after losing his wife Gemma to cancer aged 40
‘Right from the early stages – she had this empathy towards me. She’s Christian as well and that’s important to me as a man of faith.
‘She’s been an incredible support for me. She was the only person who would always pick up the phone.
‘What I saw in her, I saw in Gemma. When she said my phone is always on, she meant it.’
Sad: Simon paid tribute to his wife Gemma (pictured) a year after her death earlier this month, admitting that he has been dreading November as it signifies the first anniversary of his loss
Reaching out: Simon has been open about his mourning, sharing his grief with his Instagram followers five days ago
Simon has not disclosed the identity of his new partner and was asked if he is in love and he told Anna Foster: ‘I’m getting there, yeah. It’s in many ways strange to feel that way again.
‘Sometimes I struggle with the phrase “moving on” – I don’t think you ever really do move on from what’s happened.
‘That hole that a loved one leaves doesn’t shrink over time. Life begins to grow around it. You begin to deal with some of the challenges grief throws up, being a single parent throws up.
He continued: ‘I’ve got two choices. Give up – I can’t do that, I don’t want to do that, I’ve got a boy to bring up, I promised Gemma. The only other choice then is you walk.
“She became slowly and surely this incredible support for me”
Former Sky Sports anchor @SimonThomasSky, who lost his wife to cancer in 2017, reveals to @AnnaeFoster that he is in the early stages of a new relationship. pic.twitter.com/PbwpuUfTDj
— Radio 5 Live on BBC Sounds (@bbc5live) November 6, 2018
Heartbreaking: Simon shared this touching letter his son Ethan wrote him on Instagram on Monday
‘Right from the start I felt, I’ve got to find life again.’
Simon also talked about the importance of understanding Gemma has not been ‘replaced’.
He said: ‘This is potentially an area that can cause a lot of hurt. There’s a lot of misunderstanding that comes from this – we equate meeting someone else with forgetting the person who’s gone.
‘There are no shoes left to be filled. There will never be another Gemma. We are unique – we come to the table with our different personalities. If you’re embarking on a new relationship, comparing is ultimately a futile task. There is no comparison.
‘It’s not my fault what happened to Gemma – it’s nobody’s fault. This person is helping me define life again, helping me to feel happy again.
‘I can completely understand why some people do [feel that way]. But for most people we lose, they won’t want us to remain in this empty landscape of grief.’
Terrible time: Aged just 40, Gemma (seen with Ethan) died just four days after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia in November 2017
On the prospect of introducing his new relationship to his late wife’s family, Simon talked about the sensitivities around this and how they plan to take their time.
He said: ‘The hard thing for Gemma’s family – they’ve not met her yet. She doesn’t want to appear insensitive, launching in there, “here I am guys”.
‘When the time comes for them to meet, this will be a very physical representation, it will be a very painful reminder of the physical absence of Gemma. We do need to take our time.
‘The stuff that goes on around us can be quite difficult to navigate at times. The rules of engagement around it are really quite difficult.
‘She has in truth chosen a much rockier path than she could have done.’
There for his boy: On September 1, Simon shared this sweet post and wrote: ‘Physically apart but always together in our hearts and the memories’
Earlier this month, Simon paid tribute to his wife a year after her shock death of cancer at the age of 40.
Simon, who left the sports channel this year to spend more time with the couple’s son, Ethan, nine, took to Instagram on Thursday, admitting the month ‘he was dreading’ was finally here.
November signifies the first anniversary of Gemma’s tragic death, when she was sent home for bed rest by her GP after visiting three times with flu-like symptoms.
She died just four days after being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia.
Simon has openly discussed his grief with his Instagram followers, who have in turn shown their support for the widower.
Touching: Simon speaks openly about his feelings on social media
Taking to Instagram he posted a picture of a lone swing against an autumnal background entitled ‘November’, writing: ‘The month I’ve been dreading for so long is finally here.
‘A time of the year I used to love is now ladened with memories I wish I didn’t have. I’d do anything to fast forward to 2019.’
He then posted a picture of Gemma on Friday, writing in a heartbreaking message: ‘Darl’ I miss you so much.
‘Just know that I’m looking after your boy. You would be beyond proud at how he has grown, matured and become such a rock for me.’
He continued: ‘His emotional intelligence is beyond his young years. We are being loved and supported by so many; but we miss you more with every day that takes us further from you, but keep waiting, we will be reunited one day. ‘
Hard to get through: Simon announced the devastating news about his wife Gemma in November 2017 on Twitter (Gemma seen with Ethan)
And supporters from his 79,000-strong following quickly flooded the post with sympathy and support.
One wrote: ‘Beautiful words, stay strong, u are doing a wonderful job’, while another agreed, writing: ‘I think you’re doing an amazing job! Keep strong’.
Meanwhile another added: ‘It pains us all to read your heartbreak and we all wish we could help in some way … you are doing so well.
‘Ethan and Gemma would be so proud of you both. I can only empathise with your pain as have not been through this same experience.
‘I hope after this difficult month you may start to find more light and guidance through this heartbreak.big hugs to you and Ethan’.
In April, Simon announced he would be leaving his role at Sky, citing his main reason as wanting to dedicate time and energy to Ethan.
Work: Simon is now backing a campaign to educate GPs about the disease, encouraging them to take blood tests from suspected sufferers of the disease which affects 2,600 people in Britain a year (Simon and Gemma seen with Ethan)
Simon joined Sky in 2005 after 13 years at the BBC before working as a presenter on Sky Sports News and Sky’s coverage of EFL and League Cup football.
Simon has been open about his battle with coming to terms with Gemma’s death, bravely sharing his mourning process online.
He announced the devastating news about his wife in November 2017 on Twitter, writing: ‘Today I am crushed with indescribable pain. Just three days after falling ill with acute myeloid leukaemia, my dear wife Gemma passed away yesterday evening surrounded by her family and friends.’
Simon is now backing a campaign to educate GPs about the disease, encouraging them to take blood tests from suspected sufferers of the disease which affects 2,600 people in Britain a year.
Listen back to the full interview on bbc.co.uk/5live or via the new listening app, BBC Sounds. Anna Foster is on BBC Radio 5 Live weekdays, 10.00-13.00.
Seen: A letter from Ethan to Simon documenting his own struggle with his mother’s death
Dad: The father-of-one, 45, who left the sports channel this year to spend more time with his nine-year-old son Ethan, admitted he felt his family planner now felt ‘redundant’
What is acute myeloid leukaemia?
Acute myeloid leukaemia is an aggressive and rare form of blood cancer.
The symptoms of AML usually develop over a few weeks and become more severe.
According to NHS Choices, the symptoms include:
- Pale Skin
- Frequent infections
- Unusual and frequent bleeding – including the gums and nosebleeds
In advanced cases, patients are incredibly vulnerable to life-threatening infections and internal bleeding.
If a GP suspects leukaemia, they will arrange a blood test to determine blood cell production.
In AML, stem cells within the patient’s bone marrow produce too many immature white blood cells, which are not capable of fighting infection.
This also can lead to a decrease in production of the oxygen-carrying red blood cells and platelets that help the blood to clot.
Each year around 2,600 people in the UK are diagnosed with blood cancer.
After diagnosis, patients need urgent chemotherapy due to the aggressive nature of the cancer.
In some cases, radiotherapy may be needed along with a bone marrow or stem cell transplant.
Source: NHS Choices