A Scots mum surprised her terminally ill sister with a wedding in her garden after doctors told her she wouldn’t live to see her big day.
Sandra Neilson and her family pitched in to give their sister Lorraine Cochrane the wedding day of her dreams after doctors told the 46-year-old she was dying.
Lorraine, of Falkirk, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in January 2019 after doctors found a 14cm tumour on her ovaries.
After having a hysterectomy in March 2019 then months of gruelling chemotherapy Lorraine was given the all clear in September last year.
But following a routine scan in January this year the family were dealt a heartbreaking blow when doctors revealed the cancer had returned to Lorraine’s liver, bowel and peritoneum – and she had less than two years left to live.
Devastated Lorraine decided she wanted to realise one final long-held dream – to walk down the aisle and marry partner of nine-years, Stephen Cochrane.
Not knowing how much time Lorraine had left, the couple hastily arranged their wedding in their local community centre for May this year – but the Covid-19 pandemic struck and Lorraine’s dreams were crushed once again.
However her family, led by sister Sandra Neilson, 41, decided Lorraine would get the big day of her dreams and Sandra hosted the surprise nuptials in her garden on September 11.
Lorraine said: ” It was a very emotional day and one I didn’t think would ever happen because I’ve not got much time left.
“But it was the most amazing, perfect day. It was magical. It is incredible how generous everyone was. Everyone pulled together for me.
“When they told me I was terminal they said I had two years left. That was almost a year ago so after our original wedding was cancelled and with coronavirus restrictions and everything I just thought it would never happen.”
But thanks to Lorraine’s incredible family including Sandra, other sisters Julie and Heather, nieces Caroline and Sarah-Jane, who all served as bridesmaids, the big day went off without a hitch.
Sandra said: “It rained all morning then at 2pm, when they were just about to get married the rain stopped and the sun came out and shone all day and night. It was perfect.
“We just decided to make it happen for them because we knew she was devastated at having to cancel the may wedding. She still had the dress and it was just a matter of finding somewhere to host it. My husband Colin had just done our garden up during lockdown so it was perfect.
“Friends, family and the community chipped in to donate flowers, photography, the cake, a buffet, everything. Even the registrar only took a donation. Everyone was so generous.”
Former chambermaid, Lorraine says she had struggled with issues for years before her cancer diagnosis.
She said: “I was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries, then they found cysts, but all the time I think the cancer was growing in the background.”
Mum-of-three Sandra says the family now has a tough road ahead as they deal with Lorraine’s illness and prognosis.
Speaking through tears, Sandra said: “Lorraine is just one of those people who would give you her last and that just makes it more unfair that this is happening to her. We are still struggling to come to terms and accept it, but we will be strong for Lorraine.”
Tearful Lorraine says while she isn’t ready to die, she knows she is “going to a better place”.
She said: “I’m a very spiritual person so I know it’s not the end for me. I am going to a better place. I’ve got to stay strong, but at the same time I feel so upset.
“I have just got married, I want to live. I am not ready to die.”
The family would like to thank every one of their family friends and wider community who made Lorraine and Stephen’s dream wedding become a reality.