Belfast Telegraph

Portadown man's dying wish was to marry the love of his life... and it was granted thanks to kindness of strangers

By Staff Reporter

A man given months to live has fulfilled his dying wish to marry the love of his life.

David Smith (34) from Portadown, who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, wed Katy Harris (34) after businesses and strangers rallied round to give them a day to remember.

Flowers, a wedding cake, a band, decorative horseshoes and even a dress were donated.

The couple, who have a four-year-old son, were devastated after David was told a brain tumour meant he only had a short time left.

They met 11 years ago when Katy, who was working in a call centre, cold-called David in the hopes of selling a phone contract.

The pair hit it off, and soon after their first date in Manchester, Katy's hometown, she gave up her job and moved to Northern Ireland to live with David.

The lorry driver proposed two years later but the couple put aside their wedding plans to save enough money to buy a house. However, tragedy struck in 2010 when David found himself "lost" in his own kitchen and began suffering crippling headaches.

Weeks later MRI scans revealed he had an 11cm-long brain tumour, for which lifesaving surgery was required. After a gruelling course of chemotherapy and radiotherapy the tumour stabilised, but last year David was told the cancer had spread to the other side of his brain, and this March he was told it was terminal.

The couple contacted charity Gift Of A Wedding, which appealed for a dress, photographer, cake and band - and even organised the big day.

The pair decided to tie the knot on Friday 13 because, as Katy said, "their luck can't get any worse".

David added: "As soon as I got the diagnosis five years ago I told Katy to go back to England and stop thinking about me. I couldn't bear the thought of holding her back, but she has stayed by my side.

"At the start I was at an all-time low. I remember lying on the sofa in the early hours of the morning. I was terrified I was going to die in the bed with Katy.

"I had my first operation in 2010 and the tumour was stable for a while, but in October last year we were told it had spread. In March, my mum and Katy were told that six months was my limit.

"It is my dying wish to marry Katy. We had our first date in Manchester city centre. When I met her, I thought: 'Wow, this is brilliant'. We had so much in common. I loved her straight away.

"I proposed to Katy nine years ago, but we decided to delay getting married so that we could save up to buy a house.

"The past five years have been very difficult for us all, but Katy has sacrificed so much to care for me. I feel like I have held her back in so many ways.

"She really is my best friend. If it wasn't for Katy and our son, I would just give up."

David and Katy got married last Friday in a hotel ceremony in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, attended by 80 friends and family.

Katy said: "We really don't know how long we have left together, but it is so important to us that our son Daniel knows that his mummy and daddy loved each other very much.

"When David first got his diagnosis he told me to forget about him. It was just daft - we were already engaged, and there was no way that I would ever leave him.

"Our son Danny has been our light throughout all of this. I want to show him our wedding photos when he gets older, and I want him to know how happy we were together."

Patricia Harrison, founder and chair of Gift Of A Wedding, added: "There are no words to describe how honoured we feel when we are asked to create dream wedding days for couples battling terminal illness.

"David and Katy challenged us to create a dream Irish-themed wedding, which was based on a good luck theme.

"It really was a pleasure to put their day together with the help of some of the UK finest wedding suppliers."

Belfast Telegraph

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