Terminally ill baby's parents arranged wedding at hospice within 24 hours so he could be there
A Croydon couple arranged and got married within 24 hours at a children’s hospice after being told there was no more doctors could do for their terminally ill baby.
Amy Gowlett and Liam Ralph arrived at Shooting Star House in Hampton on Wednesday after being told their son, Jakub, could die within days due to a metabolic condition called Menkes.
They mentioned to staff they had always hoped to get married before Jakub died as they wanted him to witness it.
But they did not think it would happen so soon.
Just married Mrs Ralph, 19, said: “Jakub was diagnosed in July and we’d always planned to get married but he has deteriorated really quickly and on Friday the hospital said there was nothing more they could do for him.
“We were told about the charity Shooting Star Chase but didn’t really want to come as a hospice sounds like it will be a depressing building with one little room.
“But we arrived on Wednesday and were blown away by this amazing place.
“We mentioned how we wanted to get married before the time comes and they immediately started helping us to arrange it.”
Staff at the hospice, which cares for babies, children and young people with life limiting conditions, helped to arrange a vicar, photographer and decorations, while family members bought outfits for the wedding party.
Within 24 hours everything had been arranged and the ceremony took place yesterday afternoon.
Mr Ralph, 26, said: “It has been a day I’ll never ever forget.
“Everyone at the hospice has been so kind since we arrived and they moved heaven and earth to make it happen.”
Mrs Ralph added: “They’ve been like our very own wedding planners.
“Jakub is part of us and always will be but we don’t know how long we’ve got with him so to have him witness our wedding is amazing.
“Words can’t properly explain what it means to us.”
Shooting Star House’s head of care Sandi Hillery says this was a first for the charity.
She said: “It’s the first time we’ve been asked to do something like this.
“As well as our medical and nursing care, we try to create happy memories for families to cherish, even in the most difficult times, so it has been a huge privilege to be part of their special day.”
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