Strangers donate £16k for a terminal bride’s bucket list so she can have her dream wedding day
Strangers have donated £16k for a terminally ill bride’s bucket list and dream wedding day.
Natalie Daniells, 20, from Portsmouth, Hants, was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer in November 2014 – but after five months in remission, it returned in March and began attacking her spine.
After starting chemotherapy in a bid to prolong her life, Natalie began fundraising so she could tick off items on her bucket list and move her dream wedding to fiancé, John Daniells, forward.
Trips to Disneyland, Alton Towers, holidays in Spain and theatre shows such as Lion King and Mary Poppins all made the list.
And after four months, Natalie smashed her £10k target and was given a free wedding by the Marriot Hotel totally £6k.
The hairdresser, who was forced to give up her dream job after her diagnosis, can’t thank kind hearted strangers enough for their generous donations.
The bucket list and wedding – which took place on August 13 – have given Natalie something to look forward to while undergoing grueling treatment.
Natalie said: “I never imagine I would hit my fundraising total of £10,000, let alone having a free wedding venue for £6,000 as well.
“I paid for all the extras such as the photo booth, dance floor and casino tables but I was able to do that thanks to strangers who had donated through my Go Fund Me page.
“After having the lower part of my leg removed in 2015, I thought my cancer hell was over.
“But when I started getting back pains five months ago, I was given another scan and that revealed the shocking truth, it was back.
“I was then told there was tumours in my lungs, overnight I had gone from having a curable cancer to being incurable with only a few months left to live.
“I was heartbroken and doctors urged that I achieved my life goals as soon as possible and I didn’t want to miss the chance of being able to marry John.
“In just four months generous strangers donated thousands of pounds, the venue was beautiful, I’d chosen my dress, and even though it was manic planning it all, it was the best day of our lives.
“Since being told my cancer had spread in April, I have had so much to look forward to thanks to my bucket list.
“I went to Alton Towers and stayed over with my sisters and six others, I have been to Spain with John, Mary Poppins at the theatre, Chessington Theme park and Peppa Pig World in just a few short months.
“I can’t thank those that helped with our fundraising appeal enough, without them none of this would’ve happened.”
Natalie first blamed the throbbing pain in her legs down to being her feet all day as a hairdresser – but after an MRI scan, doctors revealed she was suffering from Ewing’s Sarcoma.
She added: “By the time I was diagnosed the tumour in my leg was the size of a melon and I needed a lower leg amputation to save my life.
“I hoped that was the end of my ordeal after chemotherapy but I was devastated when the pain started in my lower back earlier this year.
“I feared I wouldn’t be able to cope with more treatment but thanks to John and my caring family, I’ve battled through.
“Planning the wedding was a huge distraction and my mum Denise, 47, has been my rock.
“It was such a huge relief when Marriot Hotel offered the £6,000 wedding package for free, this included food for 50 people too.
“I had my two sisters as bridesmaids, Stacey and Rachel, and thankfully I had already chosen their dresses ahead of my wedding in 2017.
“It was amazing walking down the aisle thanks to my prosthesis, I felt like a princess in my long white dress and for one day my cancer diagnosis took a back seat.
“Me and John could just focus on us and being a young carefree couple for the first time since 2014.
“My most recent chemotherapy didn’t help shrink the tumours in my lungs but the radiotherapy I had on my back did help break that tumour down.
“I haven’t had any more surgery since my amputation and I’m no longer in pain with my back which is a huge relief.
“I’m going to keep fighting my cancer for as long as I can, even though we seem to get set back after set back, I’m going to live my life to the full.
“We haven’t asked doctors how long I have left but I’m hoping treatment will prolong my life for as long as possible so I can enjoy being a wife.”
Natalie put together the bucket list in April and will keep adding to it for as long as she’s able to.
She added: “It gives me something to look forward to and plan when I’m having a bad day after treatment.
“I have so far ticked off five out of nine things on my list but I’ll finish the rest in the next few weeks and add more.
“While I feel well enough I’ll be able to keep adding trips out and I’m hoping to visit Disneyland again in the future.
“I hope my story helps other young people battling cancer to stay positive, I’ll always be optimistic and try not to let my recent news get me down.”
To donate, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/5n2y6sv8
NATALIE’S BUCKET LIST
Dream Wedding – Marriot Hotel paid £6,000 for wedding package – DONE
Wedding Extra’s –
Casino tables – cost £400 – DONE
Dance floor – cost £400 – DONE
Photo booth – cost £550 – DONE
Alton Towers x2 day ticket with eight people – cost £400 – DONE
Flights to Spain x2 return – £200 – DONE
Disneyland Paris – 4 days half board – 13 people – cost £3000 – DONE
Mary Poppins Show Mayflower, Southampton – 10 people – cost £400 – DONE
Pepper Pig World – 12 people – £300 – DONE
London Duck Tours – boat hire for one day – 30 people – £550
Chessington Theme Park – 7 people – discounted tickets – £80
Lion King show, London – not confirmed
Lego World – 7 people – discounted tickets – £100
Do you, or someone you know, have a similar story to tell? Get in touch today to earn £££ and raise awareness.