Living the dream of late husband
A WIDOW of an optician is training to become an optometrist in memory of her husband.
Feltham Specsavers’ store retail director Selcuk Arslan died at the age of 46 from an aggressive form of brain tumour at his home on January 23.
His wife of 17 years, Christy, said she wants to train to one day take over from him as the store’s director in order to continue and follow his dream.
“He was an amazing person with a beautiful personality,” said the 38-year-old.
“My partner said it [Specsavers] is the best company he ever worked for and that made me realise I want to pursue my dream.
“Specsavers has been really helpful and, hopefully, when the time comes, they will accept me to continue with the flourish what my partner had built with his team.”
Christy and Selcuk met in September 1999 when they were studying English in Windsor after moving to Britain from Holland and Turkey, respectively.
“Initially, when Selcuk went to English school he wasn’t going to the same school I was going to, but he got lost and ended up in the same class as me,” she said.
“We had been together ever since.”
The whirlwind relationship saw Selcuk propose to Christy on her birthday on November 24 that year, and they wed just three months later. He held my hand and said to me, ‘look as everything is so perfect and I’ve found the person I needed’... then he popped the question.”
But nothing would prepare the couple for what would befall them 14 years later.
As they stopped in Germany on December 23 to see the Christmas markets as they drove to Holland to see Christy’s family, Selcuk had his first seizure.
Having decided to carry on driving to Holland, Selcuk suffered another fit and the pair, hoping it was epilepsy, flew back to England in the New Year for tests.
In January an MRI confirmed their worst fears as Selcuk was diagnosed with Glioblastoma brain cancer.
“He was really upset, we were both really upset and thinking that we can’t believe it’s really happening,” Christy said. “But we never gave up and really thought there was always a chance. Right up until the last moment he was still fighting.”
An operation to remove 96% of the tumour was successful and with chemotherapy and radiotherapy initially halting a regrowth, Selcuk decided to visit his family in Turkey during the summer.
But while there, his immune system flattened and he contracted Lyme disease, meaning he had to stop tak- ing his drugs and returned.
A second operation removed 80% of the tumour and the couple still harboured hopes he would make a full recovery.
By August, he was unable to open his left eye and Selcuk’s health deteriorated rapidly until, in January, he would succumb to the disease.
Following his death, friends and family rallied around Christy to raise £2,235 to grant Selcuk his last wish to be buried next to his Mother in Turkey.
“He was a very kind and a gentle man and is my true soulmate,” said Christy. anti the cancer tumour
“He touched so many lives when he passed away and I was so overwhelmed by the lots of amazing messages about him on his Facebook page.”
His former business partner, Russ Dawkins, who was left paralysed from the waist down after a cycling accident during a charity ride in France in 2013, is an optometrist at Specsavers in Staines, Egham and Feltham of more than 20 years.
He said: “All of us that knew him well are devastated at the rapidity that this fine man was snatched away from us. He is a loss to the world of old fashioned decency and honour, a description that I keep coming back to.”
Selcuk Arslan, retail director at Feltham Specsavers, with his wife Christy Arslan, 38.