A County Armagh man with terminal cancer returned home with his new wife following their dream wedding to find that burglars had targeted their house.
Less than 24 hours after arriving back in Portadown, David and Katy Smith discovered their home had been targeted by opportune thieves.
Fortunately nothing was taken from the house.
Nonetheless David – who has less than a year to live – has fulfilled his wish of marrying the love of his life – thanks to the generosity of total strangers and businesses who stepped forward to make their dream come true.
David Smith and Katy Harris met 11 years ago after Katy, who worked in a call centre, phoned the Portadown lorry driver to try and sell a mobile phone contract.
They got on so well that they agreed to meet and had their first date in Katy’s native Manchester.
The couple fell in love and Katy quit her job and moved to Northern Ireland to be with David, with whom she has a four-year-old son, Danny.
They put on hold plans to wed in order to buy a house.
But five years ago their world was turned upside down when David was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
It was at the end of September 2010 that they received the devastating news. After an operation and six weeks of gruelling radiotherapy, the tumour stayed stable for a while and the couple were blessed with the birth of their son Danny.
David was told he had only six months to a year to live but he proved them all wrong and was able to watch his beautiful boy being born and taking his first steps.
Last October, however, they learned the cancer had spread and, in March, were told David had only about six months to live.
Despite knowing that Katy was the love of his life, David did not want her to feel she had to stay.
“As soon as I got the diagnosis five years ago I told Katy to go back to England and stop thinking about me,” he told The Daily Mail. “I couldn’t bear the thought of holding her back, but she has stayed by my side since day one.”
For Katy, like David, there was nobody she wanted to be with more and the couple set up a gofundme appeal to raise the money to allow them to travel to Lancashire and tie the knot, with both families there to watch them say ‘I do’.
On their gofundme appeal, Katy said: “It would mean the world to us to have one special day before David gets more ill. Danny has had such a hard time watching his Daddy go through this but he has been so brave and understanding. He would love a day surrounded by both sets of his family having a good time. It will be amazing if in the future I can show him a video of how much his mummy and daddy loved each other and him.”
The charity Gift of a Wedding stepped in and set the wheels in motion.
Donations came in and businesses offered their services free of charge to allow Katy and David to have their dream day, with son Danny there to share this most special of days.
The ceremony took place last Friday, November 13, in Rochdale, and it was perfect from start to finish – everything they could have dreamed of and more!
Katy, in providing an update to all those who supported and helped make the wedding a reality, said the big day had had such an impact on their lives.
“We had the most incredible day, thank-you all so much to everyone that has contributed,” she said.
“We would never have been able to have such a fantastic day without you. David is very tired and recovering now after being determined to get through the ceremony and photos and being on his feet nearly all day!
“You’ve given us a day we will never forget. Danny is also still exhausted from dancing for hours on end.
“This day has given David extra strength to keep on fighting in the hope that we can have other great days to share as a newly married family.
“Thank-you all again from the bottom of our hearts.
Mr and Mrs Smith xxxx (and Danny!)”
Read more news:
Sign up for our weekly newsletter here.