Family plans the perfect wedding day for terminally ill bride-to-be
An Antrim couple have been left devastated by a diagnosis of terminal brain cancer for one of them - just four months before they were due to be married.
Andrea Hobot (34) was planning her wedding to partner of seven years David Carruthers (33) when she received the news last week.
David's sister Angeline explained: "In June Andrea came off her bike and she had an injury to her head.
"They thought that she had had a stroke, but then they discovered she had a tumour.
"She had surgery, which she described as 'Hell on Earth', and then they discovered that it was a grade four tumour, which is the worst form and very aggressive.
"Only 20% of people with that tumour survive for longer than a year.
"She had her whole life ahead of her. They had so many plans. They have been trying for a baby for three years and they had recently got a letter to say they were on the waiting list for IVF, which was due to happen at the end of the year."
Andrea, who worked as a machine operator, has been forced to give up her job and is now doing all she can to prolong her life. The couple's wedding was due to take place in her native Slovakia in December, but with intensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy due to start in next month, they have had to cancel their plans.
Angeline added: "She is from Slovakia and they wanted to go there to get married, but due to her illness, December is too far away. We want to bring that forward and give them a special day before she starts chemo.
"They are both devastated. It is a struggle for them. They are doing their best to stay positive.
"She's trying to do anything that she can to just buy her a wee bit more time - alkaline diets, everything organic, carbohydrates. She didn't think she would get this wedding and we as a family just wanted to do everything we can to make it happen."
David's family have launched a fundraising drive to help the couple relocate their wedding to Northern Ireland, to enable them to get married at the end of the month.
They are hoping to bring Andrea's parents, sister and brother-in-law over from Slovakia to allow both families to share their special day.
They have already raised over £6,700, smashing their initial target, and people who work in the wedding industry have also offered their services for free to help the couple.
"The support from the local community has just been tremendous," Angeline added.
"We are overwhelmed, not only by their donations but also by their kindness.
"People we don't even know have come forward and offered their services - cake, photographs and make-up. It's just unbelievable.
"It gives them a bit of hope. Over the last few days I applied for a marriage licence for them.
"They just want a small, quiet family wedding, and it will hopefully be on August 31.
"Her face just lit up when she heard. It's just given her something to look forward to other than being ill. They can't believe how generous people have been. They were in tears."
Angeline said the family are hoping to continue the fundraising to help get Andrea more specialised treatment, and to support the couple through the next few months.
"We want to raise a bit more to get her as much time as possible.
"We are looking at the possibility of immunotherapy, and also just to raise money to help them.
"Andrea is part of our family and we just want to prolong her life for as long as we can."
- To donate to the gofundme page, go to https://www.gofundme.com/2bes5fuc