Tragic bride, 32, dies of cancer just three days after marrying sweetheart in her hospital bed
Special day: Rachel Sanderson with her husband Glen on their wedding day in Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital, where she was battling a rare form of cancer
Diagnosed with tumour in shoulder. Despite chemotherapy and radiotherapy the cancer spread to Rachel’s lungs and brain
A hairdresser fulfilled her dying wish to marry her sweetheart just three days before she died.
Rachel Sanderson, had been battling terminal cancer for a number of years but was determined to marry her partner, Glen.
Three days before she passed away, Rachel and Glen said their vows in front of close family and friends at an emotional ceremony in Ward 35 at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.
Celebration: Rachel and Glen get married at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle
Mrs Sanderson who lived in East Boldon, South Tyneside, decided on the morning of January 25 that she wanted to get married.
Mother’s love: Sylvia said: ‘I have so much admiration for my daughter’
It was not until the summer of 2009,
when a lump developed on Rachel’s shoulder showed that she had synovial
sarcoma, a rare form of cancer.
The tumour was the size of a large coffee mug and Rachel faced the prospect of having her left shoulder and arm amputated.
chose to go through gruelling sessions of chemotherapy and radiotherapy
instead, surgeons operated on the tumour but the cancer spread to her
lungs and to her brain.
In August 2010 she was told the devastating news that her condition was terminal.
Mother Sylvia Howey, 64, said: ‘The news was devastating. Rachel had always been determined to beat the cancer but unfortunately she was unable to.’
In the early hours of January 28, Rachel died peacefully in hospital in her mother’s arms.
Sylvia, a retired secretary from Heaton, Newcastle, has now paid tribute to her only child.
She said: ‘I am so proud to have had Rachel as my daughter and her death has left a huge void in my life.
‘She was my world and I could not have wished for a more caring daughter – she always thought of others before herself and was non-judgmental.
‘Rachel was a stunningly beautiful woman, both inside and out, she touched the heart of everyone.
‘Her bubbly personality shone like a beacon and she lit a room when she entered it.
‘She was an intelligent, witty, courageous, tenacious, inspirational, caring and loving young woman.
‘I am desperately sad that she did not see her birthday and it is hard to put into words how life will be without her.’
Rachel before her diagnosis: Her mother said she ‘shone like a beacon.’ She died this January.
Rachel worked in various hair salons in North Tyneside and Newcastle. She had secured a new hairdressing job but the diagnosis of her illness meant she never started her new role. Last year she was made a Freeman of the City of Newcastle upon Tyne.
Her mother said: ‘I have so much admiration for my daughter. She decided that she would be the happiest patient on Ward 35 in the Freeman cancer unit.
‘And she certainly achieved that, constantly smiling through all she endured over many years of pain and disappointment.
‘She remained positive throughout and kept thinking of everyone else.
‘Rachel said she was not ready to say goodbye and worried about what would happen to me, Glen and her best friend Matthew.
‘No parent ever expects to go before their child and it has been a difficult time.
‘But I know Rachel is now at peace.’
Rachel and Glen were able to get married so quickly because of a special licence which is only issued where one party is terminally ill. Normally the legal minimum waiting time
between giving notice of intended marriage and getting married is 15