‘I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO DIE’ says Kathleen Khalili

Brit holidaymaker, 46, with a brain tumour marries Tunisian toyboy 18 years her junior – but she’s now got the all-clear and they couldn’t be happier.

A BRITISH woman wed a Tunisian toyboy 18 years her junior after a holiday romance because she thought she was dying of a brain tumour.

Kathleen Khalili, 46, met Amir, 28, on a winter break in 2013 after being diagnosed with a tumour in her pituitary gland.

She said she only agreed to a date because she believed she would die and she wanted to “fight for her chance of happiness”.

Now she says 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.

Now the couple want to add  “the final part of the puzzle” – a baby – but the tumour has left her needing fertility treatment to conceive.

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 said: “I was terrified. 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 so surgery was booked for April 2014.

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

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 agreed to go on a date with Amir – something she wouldn’t have done previously. “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.

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 is in her fifties and not much older than Kathleen.

“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.

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.

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 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.

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

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 say 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, now they need to raise funds to get the egg fertilised and implanted.

Kathleen doesn’t agree with this and 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.

“I think I’ve got as much right as anyone else to be a mum.”

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.”

Last year a heartbroken mum revealed her Tunisian toyboy used her money to wed another woman.

The Sun

Related posts

Comments are closed.