Teacher with months to live marries man of her dreams after friends organise collection following devastating cancer diagnosis
My wedding day was the happiest of my life. Now I am taking every day as it comes
A primary school teacher who has just months to live has married the man of her dreams after friends and family helped raise the funds to bring their big day forward.
Kathy Nutter, 31, and Carl Morris, 40, were due to tie the knot in April after Carl proposed when she was given the all clear of cervical cancer in March last year after months of gruelling treatment.
However, their joy was short-lived when
she was diagnosed with a secondary cancer in her left leg in August. In
December Kathy was told that it had spread to major organs and she had
just months to live, and the couple feared that their wedding may come
Happiest day: Kathy managed to walk down the aisle with the help of her father John and brother Thomas (pictured)
But family and friends rallied round to help, setting up a Facebook page urging people and local businesses to donate and they were inundated with offers including free venue, cake, dress, make-up, hair-styling and catering services.
The civil service was held at Bolton School in Greater Manchester on February 12 followed by a reception at Accrington Town Hall with a sit-down meal, live music, a disco and a magic show.
Kathy normally relies on a wheelchair to get around, but she managed to walk up the aisle on crutches, supported by her father and brother, and even managed her first dance as ‘Mrs Morris’ using them.
The couple, who have been together for three years, are determined not to give up hope, and are now looking at alternative treatments in a bid to help Kathy. They also want to highlight the importance of cervical screening to all women.
Kathy, from Burnley, Lancashire, said: 'I’m still trying to take it all in to be honest. I can’t believe it’s happened and we’re married. It was such an amazing day and I’ve never done anything that felt more right.
'I can’t thank the people who donated the money and gifts enough for their help and compassion.
'I’m just looking forward to the time me and Carl have together now. We are planning to go on our honeymoon. It’s not booked yet but we’d both like to go to London to look around the art galleries and maybe see a show together.'
Carl added: 'It was better than we ever could have expected.'
Day at a time: Kathy with her new husband Carl. The couple know they only have months left together
Kathy first developed symptoms in February 2010 and was diagnosed with cervical cancer nine months later in November 2010.
Kathy said: 'I started to get symptoms such as random bleeding and discharge. I had a smear two years before that which was all clear, so they didn’t send me for another.
'They treated me for bacterial vaginosis and thrush and once even said I had an STD.
'It continued for months and it wasn’t till November after a biopsy that I was diagnosed with cervical cancer. I was just in shock at first.'
Kathy’s tumour was the size of a lemon and she was rushed in for radiotherapy, chemotherapy and brachytherapy before finally being told on her 30th birthday, March 11 2011, that the cancer had gone into remission.
Kathy said: 'We were so happy that we went out that night and without telling me Carl got down on one knee in the pub in front of everyone!
'I have never wanted to get married before but I said yes straight away. After everything I knew I wanted to be with him forever.
'We didn’t have a lot of money so we got a fake plastic ring from a costume shop for 2.99 until we could get a real one.
'We started planning the wedding for April 2012 so we had enough time to save.'
First dance: Kathy and Carl during the reception. Kathy used a wheelchair during other parts of the day
However by July 2011, Kathy’s leg swelled up and a scan a few weeks later in August confirmed that she had secondary cancer in her leg.
Kathy said: 'I had been getting pains in my pelvic area but I thought that was related to all the treatment I’d had.
'The doctor said it looked like deep vein thrombosis but a scan revealed that the cancer had wrapped itself around a vein in my leg and metastasised.
'We took the news relatively calmly. They booked me in for six sessions of chemo but within just two weeks I went from normal mobility to being completely dependant.'
Despite the chemotherapy she was told on December 23 that the cancer had spread and was terminal.
Kathy said, 'It had also gone to my lower back, lymph nodes in my stomach, my spine, a kidney and my bladder.
'I said I needed to know how long I had. They said people with cancer this advanced, 50 per cent see six months and the rest don’t see a year.'
Kathy worried that she may not see her wedding day in April, but her friends appealed on Facebook for donations to ‘Kathy’s Wedding Fund’ and were bombarded with messages from friends, strangers and businesses offering money and their services for free.
On Sunday 12 February, Kathy’s dreams came true when she walked down the aisle, wearing a stunning white, off-the-shoulder dress and clutching a bouquet of sunflowers and roses to the tune of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Songbird’ played on a grand piano, with the aid of her brother, Thomas and dad, John, who gave her away.
Her best friends Leah Massey, 27, and Faye Ibbitson, 27, were her bridesmaids.
After they were pronounced man and wife, the newly-weds walked out to Glen Medeiros’ 'Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love For You' and headed to the reception where Kathy managed to stand for their first dance to Jackie Wilson’s 'I Get The Sweetest Feeling'.
Kathy said: 'All day there was a constant stream of people coming over to say congratulations.
'I had to be pushed in my wheehchair after the service because I was so tired, but I’m really glad I managed to walk down the aisle with my dad and brother.'
Carl and Kathy at Eden camp museum in March 2009. Kathy began developing symptoms a year later
Car trader Carl, who has three children from a previous relationship, said: 'I’m so happy that Kathy managed to stand for our first dance.
'She looked gorgeous in her dress and I’m so happy we’re finally married. It’s like passing your exams.'
The couple are looking into holistic therapies to help Kathy, including reiki and detoxes to remove the sugars that the cancer cells feed on.
Kathy said: 'I’m not looking at it like I don’t have much time left. I am taking every day as it comes and trying different therapies to help.
'They won’t take away the cancer, but they will hopefully make us work out what options we have next.
'We’ve always said that since I was told it was terminal we would keep a positive mental attitude.
I’m just really happy that we’ve finally got married. It was the happiest day of my life.'