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Couple forced to plan wedding in just four days after they are both diagnosed with cancer

Mirror logo Mirror 21/05/2017 Janet Hughes
Credits: GloucestershireLive © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: GloucestershireLive

A couple had just four days to plan their dream wedding day after they were both diagnosed with cancer within two years of each other.

The devoted pair, Amy Averiss and Lee Sharpe, had already postponed their wedding plans set for August after mum-of-three Amy collapsed on Boxing Day and was told the neuroendocrine cancer she thought she had beaten had returned.

But in cruel twist of fate on May 5 they learned that they would have to bring the nuptials forward because Lee has developed terminal cancer and has just weeks to live.

After hearing the devastating prognosis, which came almost two years to the day of 34-year-old Amy’s diagnosis, friends and family rallied around to give the couple the wedding they had always dreamed of, reports Gloucestershire Live.

And on Saturday the couple, who have been together for 13 years, tied the knot at the pretty St Lawrence’s church in Swindon Village, Cheltenham.

There was hardly a dry eye in the house as Amy walked down the aisle to the Yvonne Elliman hit, Love me please, Just a little bit longer.

Their children, Chantelle, Tyler, Codie, and Brandon followed her down the aisle as bridesmaids and pageboys, along with nieces, nephews and Chantelle’s son Riley.

Many of the guests, who wore Amy’s favourite colour of yellow, had to wait outside as the pair finally made their vows with voices croaking with emotion in front of a packed congregation.

Amy’s voice was reduced to a whisper as she pledged to love Lee in sickness and in health and there were tears of emotion as they were finally pronounced man and wife.

“We only had four days to plan it all but I am determined to enjoy the day,” said Lee.

“Originally we were told we would have to wait three weeks, but when you are on borrowed time like I am, you can’t wait three weeks for your wedding.

“You have to grasp every day as if it’s your last. I know what the doctors say, but I am determined to try and fight it for as long as I can because I’ve got three little kids and Amy to think of.”

Mum-of-three Amy was first diagnosed with cancer on May 7 2015 and given odds of 50/50, but was delighted in November that year to receive the good news that the tumour had gone. She was so pleased she celebrated with a balloon release and raised money for cancer charities.

The couple thought they could put the bad times behind them and started to plan their wedding, setting a date in August 2017 at St Lawrence's church.

But on Boxing Day 2016 Amy collapsed and was told the cancer had returned to her brain. Not long after an operation to remove that tumour she found out there was a third, just above her bowel, for which she is still having treatment.

Unbelievably Lee, 46, who had been supporting Amy after she lost her hair for a second time, was taken to hospital a few weeks ago with a collapsed lung and told he had inoperable lung and brain cancer.

That’s when friends and family stepped in. Lee’s cousin Paul Twyning put an appeal out on social media for help to arrange a wedding within days.

He said: “This is just the most horrific news and completely unbelievable!

“This couple have longed to marry for years, are in love and have three beautiful children, they just want to enjoy life and watch their children grow, it seems life won't give them a break.”

Luckily Amy had already ordered an ivory dress for the cancelled August wedding, but practically everything else was so last minute that Amy’s mum Linda was still buying wedding rings on the morning of the ceremony.

“I’ve not really had much to do because everybody else has mucked in and done it all,” she said. “It’s what they have always wanted so all we can do is hope it will be a happy, memorable day.”

Neighbour Phil Moore, agreed to do the photos, another friend baked the cake and Lee’s cousin James Wright and his wife Lisa arranged for classic Ford cars to be at the church as a surprise.

“Lee and I used to do up old cars when we were growing up so I put an appeal out on Facebook and the car groups turned up,” he said.

“What has happened is unbelievable. Unreal. That’s why we have got to make the day as happy as we can for Lee and Amy. They are a lovely, lovely couple.”

Amy was given away by her father Graham who said it was an emotional day for everybody.

He said: “They are very, very close. Lee has helped Amy through some terrible times and now they are both in it together.

“Today shows how much they are loved. All these people have come out to support them. It's been very moving."

Carer Tracy Bryan had brought students from the National Star College where Lee works because they wanted to see him get married.

“Everybody is completely gutted because he is such a lovely person and has so much time for the residents,” she said. “Lee is just adorable and they just love him.”

After the wedding the party went to the Labour Club for a last minute party, but they are both too ill for a honeymoon.

Vicar the Rev Liz Palin had to apply for a special licence from the Church of England to hold the wedding at such short notice.

She said: “They had originally planned to marry in this church in August, but then Amy’s mother called to say they would have to push it back until next August because Amy was ill again.

“Then she called to explain that Lee had cancer too and it was terminal so they needed to get married very quickly. I think they thought it would have to be in a registry office, but that didn’t work out for some reason and I applied to the Church of England so they could get married within 24 hours and the ladies from the church did all the flowers to make it nice for them.

“Obviously it’s very poignant day full of mixed emotions, but it’s also a reminder of what’s important, the vows they made to each other and the way they love and support each other is what counts.

“People are always putting off getting married because they can’t afford what they want until next year, but really it’s only about the vows and the love people have for each other.”

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