A woman has revealed how she moved her wedding forward so her terminally ill mum could watch her walk down the aisle.
Lisa Bennett, 36, from Leeds, received the news no daughter wants to hear when her mum Jacqui Amor, 58, was diagnosed with three inoperable secondary brain tumours.
Further tests revealed there were multiple lesions and in September 2020, Jacqui was diagnosed as terminal, with less than 12 months to live.
Lisa had been set to marry her partner Stu Davison, 45, in August 2020 but due to the pandemic the event was postponed to the following year.
But after finding out the tragic news about her mum, she decided to bring the wedding forward – to make sure Jacqui could be there.
“I was devastated when I found out about mum’s brain tumours,” Lisa said.
“Mum refused to believe it and her mental health deteriorated.
“I lived in Leeds while mum was in Norfolk so I couldn’t even go there to do anything as they weren’t allowing visitors.
“Her mental health really deteriorated and she was confused and scared and didn’t understand what was happening.
“My mental health suffered too and I lost weight through not eating and drinking, I hit rock bottom.”
Lisa fought hard to have her mum relocated to a Leeds care home so she could be close by and eventually Jacqui was moved.
A few months later, as she was coming to terms with what was happening, all Jacqui could talk about was the wedding.
Lisa said: “She would tell the care staff it was the one thing she wished for.
“She would say, ‘I’m not going anywhere until I’ve seen my daughter marry Stu’. Mum dotes on him.”
The mum-of-six began frantically trying to arrange, reschedule or cancel things in order to bring the big day forward.
Lisa shared her situation on social media, asking for wedding ideas.
In a beautiful testament to human connection, strangers stepped forward not only to share their thoughts but to help make the special day a reality for the Lisa and her mum.
She was overwhelmed with messages from several individuals and companies, many of whom offered services for free so that she could bring her wedding forward and still stay on budget.
She said: “The response was amazing and we had everything for the ceremony free of charge, it was incredible!
“The cricket club where we got married, a gorgeous igloo dome to have the ceremony in, decorations, flowers, two silver limousines.
“It was all just incredible. I couldn’t stop crying. It was so emotional, the kindness people had shown to us as a family.
“When we told mum we were having it early to make sure she was well enough she was over the moon.”
On 12 March 2021, just over seven months after discovering Jacqui’s condition was terminal, Lisa and Stu got married.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, venue choices were limited.
Lisa and Stu chose the grounds of East Leeds Cricket Club, which worked out well as it is located just over the road from Jacqui’s care home and meant she could walk over.
Braving the elements for an outdoor wedding in early March, the happy couple cleverly picked a see-through igloo marquee so the small number of guests that attended could see inside.
She said: “On the day, mum did amazing. My dad was there too. He lives in Leeds and although they aren’t together it was really special to have both parents there.
“Mum cried as she heard us do our vows. It was so intimate and beautiful.
“I cried, a lot, but held it together as I knew I had to get through it.
“I was so proud of her. We had beautiful family photos taken afterwards, which was important to me.
“I thought ‘what if she goes suddenly? We need family photos with her’.
“It was all so incredibly important. There were lots of things I wish we’d been able to do, like having her with me getting ready and going dress shopping.
“In the end, we got just 45 minutes with her.”
It was an emotional moment for the family.
Lisa said: “As soon as she saw me and the kids, she cried and ran over for hugs.
“She wasn’t meant to but she had to, she needed it. It was the first time mum had seen them since before diagnosis.
“This could be the only time that we were able to be together as a family and have that closeness with her and just be together.
“It was extra important to have that, just in case. I set up a fundraiser for Brain Tumour Research, which I received a medal for, raising £650 for them as I felt I needed to do something. Something on mum’s behalf.
“She wanted to make a difference to others. And she has done that.”