Hospital staff help organise wedding in hours so dying dad can see daughter wedJune 2, 2022
Emma King and her partner Aaron Hams had already moved their wedding forward so Emma’s dying father Peter could live to see them wed.
But when Peter’s condition deteriorated even further, it became clear that they were going to have to speed up the timeline by 72 hours.
Emma, 38, of Ramsgate, Kent, said: ‘I just knew I wanted my dad to be there, so we decided to bring the wedding forward.
‘Doctors told me at noon on Friday that he didn’t have long left, and by the time I’d spoken to the chaplain it was 2pm, and after that, it was just go, go, go.’
With no registrar available, the hospital’s chaplain stepped in to perform the ceremony at the 69-year-old’s bedside on the Quex Ward at Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital in Margate, Kent.
Peter witnessed his daughter tie the knot on the evening of Friday, May 20, surrounded by family members, before he passed away less than 48 hours later.
‘By 6pm we were getting married,’ said Emma. ‘It was just lovely, and my dad was so proud.
‘He was so happy, and he couldn’t take his eyes off us. It was all for him, and I’m so grateful that we were able to make it happen.’
Former civil servant Peter was originally admitted to the hospital in April after suffering a stroke, but doctors then discovered he had blood clots in his lungs, and an active bleed on his brain.
Donate to Dame Deborah James’ Bowelbabe fund
You, Me & The Big C podcast host Dame Deborah James has admirably raised money towards cancer charities after announcing that her own bowel cancer was now terminal.
She is now receiving end-of-life hospice care at home due to her cancer treatment being stopped last month.
With the support of Cancer Research UK (CRUK), Dame Deborah and her family established the Bowelbabe Fund, with all money raised to be allocated to funding clinical trials and research into personalised medicine that could result in new treatments for cancer patients, including projects in collaboration with partners such as The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and The Royal Marsden. Donations will also go towards continued support to raise awareness of cancer, such as Bowel Cancer UK’s Never Too Young campaign.
At the start of June, the fund had so far raised £6.6million to go towards clinical trials and research into personalised medicine for cancer patients and supporting campaigns to raise awareness of bowel cancer.
You can donate via the Just Giving link here.
He went for more tests, which revealed he also had a bowel obstruction due to colon cancer, and he was too ill for surgeons to operate.
Instead, the team used medication to attempt and shrinking the tumour.
Emma, who works in catering and hospitality, said: ‘That gave us more time with him, and we will forever be thankful.
‘On the Friday, he started experiencing more pain, and we just knew what we had to do.
‘The ward staff were amazing and so kind. They organised flowers for me and buttonholes for Aaron, there was a table with alcohol-free prosecco and cakes, and they decorated his bed space with banners and balloons.
‘It was absolutely perfect. I couldn’t believe we managed to pull it off, but we did. Then we could put everything aside for an hour and just concentrate on us as a family.’
The guests for the ceremony were Emma’s mum Jennifer, Aaron’s parents Keith and Pauline, Aaron’s sister Medina, and the couple’s two children, Paisley and Bobby.
The bride recalled: ‘We’ve been together 20 years and had often talked about getting married before now, but life is so busy it was always put to one side, and there were always other things to spend the money on.
‘But I wouldn’t have changed a thing. My dad was there and that made it perfect.
‘He died in the early hours of Sunday, and I was so pleased we had brought the wedding forward.’
Ward manager Katie Thomas, whose team helped organise the ceremony, said: ‘We were delighted to be able to help with Emma and Aaron’s wedding.
‘As word spread throughout the hospital, people from different teams gave up some of their time to get involved and make it as special as possible.
‘It was a wonderful moment and I hope they will cherish their memories of it forever.’
Macmillan cancer support
If you or someone you care about has been diagnosed with cancer, Macmillan can offer support and information.
You can contact their helpline on 0808 808 00 00 (7 days a week from 8am to 8pm), use their webchat service, or visit their site for more information.
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