It’s fair to say that the days leading up to any wedding are anything but ordinary. So imagine if that wedding involved a start time of 7.30am, a ceremony on the Cutty Sark, trainers, a running wedding dress and 26.2 miles of running just a few hours later. It’s certainly an unusual wedding day schedule. But, when you meet bride Jackie – which we did for her final dress fitting – it doesn’t take long to see why it’s the only day she’d want to plan.
It wasn’t always that way. When her partner of 13 years, Duncan, proposed to her on Christmas Day 2013, she had visions of creating an edible wedding (yep, even edible invites and centrepieces) in the Cotswolds. But, being diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer just three weeks later at the age of 32 did a lot to change that picture.
Two charities, Breast Cancer Care and Willow gave the couple a chance to celebrate their engagement at a time that could have ripped them apart. They helped Jackie be a fiancé not a cancer patient and find a way back to her smile. That is something she will never forget.
Those charities gave her hope and the confidence to believe she could be something more than cancer trying to define her. Jackie turned to running during treatment (which for someone who had her hip rebuilt in her 20s is not something anyone expected) and she ran her first 10k during chemotherapy. So, when Duncan suggested they put wedding planning back on the agenda post treatment, Jackie realised that for that wedding to have real meaning and be a celebration of their relationship, it would have to have charity at its heart. And that’s exactly what they’ve done.
With a honeymoon trek of the Great Wall of China just a few weeks later (also for charity), Duncan and Jackie have a busy and energetic month ahead of them. But, as Jackie explained, being able to give their wedding to charity to help other people find the strength to face another day and smile through serious illness is the greatest wedding gift they could possibly imagine.
We’ll raise a glass to that! Congratulations.
You can help Duncan and Jackie make their wedding even more meaningful by sponsoring them here: