A man with incurable cancer has been left “overwhelmed” after generous strangers raised thousands to help him afford the wedding of his dreams.
Jamie Tanner, 36, was diagnosed with terminal cancer in August last year.
He vowed that he’d marry the love of his life, Emma Haggan, before the cancer took a hold of his life. But money was tight.
Thankfully for the couple, thousands of kind strangers have pledged money and services on a crowdfunding page.
So far, more than £8,000 has been raised – which is almost triple their original target.
Haggan, who is 30, said she met Tanner eight years ago, after she moved next door to his parent’s house.
She had only just come out of a longterm relationship and was too shy initially to even say “hello”. But said that Tanner never gave up on his quest for her affection.
“I kept in touch with his mum and step dad once I’d moved, and was soon persuaded to give him my number,” wrote Haggan on the couple’s GoFundMe page.
“Soon, though, I realised that he wasn’t going to give up, and we went on our first date… to London to see The Lion King, and a ride on the London Eye – it isn’t hard to see why I started to let my guard down.
“I was falling for him, fast.”
Haggan explained that they didn’t rush into things, particularly as her daughter Amara was born with hip dysplasia and so a lot of her time was spent caring for her.
But despite the slow start, she said Tanner was always very romantic. Even though he worked away during the week, he would keep in touch constantly and would bring her roses at the weekends.
He also grew incredibly close to Haggan’s daughter and never missed a hospital appointment or operation. Eventually her daughter began to call Tanner ‘Dad’.
The pair had their first child together in July 2010. Two years later they purchased a house together.
In July 2015, during a romantic trip to Venice for Haggan’s 30th birthday, Tanner popped the question. And, of course, she said yes.
“It couldn’t have been any more special or romantic: a penthouse suite, a homemade book of our relationship, and a proposal on the Rialto Bridge with a charm bracelet,” Haggan explained.
“We decided at once to marry in 2017, in Lake Garda, Italy – we were having the time of our lives.”
But one month later, disaster struck when Tanner was diagnosed with small cell carcinoma, a very rare and incurable type of cancer.
“No cure. The words ripped our hearts out,” explained Haggan. “While Jamie has been offered treatment, and is currently undergoing chemotherapy, we have no idea how long we have left together.”
The couple knew they needed to bring their wedding forward, but they also knew that affording a wedding at such short notice would be almost impossible.
So they got in touch with the Wedding Wishing Well foundation – a non-profit organisation that arranges and funds weddings for couples affected by terminal, or life limiting, illnesses.
The charity has since launched a crowdfunding campaign for the couple to help them pay for their wedding.
The original target was to raise £3,000, but they have surpassed this by a long shot.
The couple said they were “overwhelmed by the incredible generosity the public has shown”.
“We would like to thank every single one of you who have helped,” they said.
As for Tanner’s health, Haggan said he has been her “superman” and has accepted every challenge and treatment along the way.
“The cancer is now in his lungs and the treatment makes him very ill, yet I seldom hear him complain,” she said.
“Even when Jamie’s tumour reacted to the treatment and tangled itself in his bowel, causing an enormous amount of pain and complications, Jamie stayed strong, and remained as independent as he could.
“He has faced pneumonia, lapses in consciousness, a huge blood clot caused by being bed-bound, long waits, and treatment, all with a relative smile on his face – he is my hero.”
She continued: “Jamie takes a lot of medication each day, including three injections, but has improved no end – his mobility gets a little better each day and, each time he has chemo, the ill-effects seem to get less and less.
“However, we know that there is no permanent solution to his cancer, and simply want to make the most of every moment.
“We stay as positive as we can, and fight it with our every breath; there is no other way.”
To donate to the couple’s wedding or offer a service, visit their GoFundMe page.