Samantha Hickling's story (Part One): How cancer sufferer's mum and fiancé brought wedding day forward
Over the next three days, we will be featuring the story of 26-year-old cervical cancer sufferer Samantha Hickling on www.thisisgrimsby.co.uk. Sam, who has been given just months to live, hopes that sharing her tale will encourage other women to attend routine smear tests and get any symptoms they are concerned about check out. Today, the former finance manager explains how her mum and fiancé brought her wedding day forward after doctors told her she had just months to live…
DANCING to Let’s Stay Together by Al Green on their wedding night, the new Mr and Mrs Hickling should have been dreaming of their future like any young couple in love.
But their big day had been organised in just a few hours and took place at their home in Alvingham, with guests having just four hours’ notice to attend the nuptials.
On the morning of wedding day, March 1, Samantha Hickling, nee Parkin, 26, was discharged from hospital by doctors who told her there was no further treatment available for the cervical cancer, which had spread to her kidney and Lymph nodes.
She explained: “I got into the ambulance to go home and my mum asked whether I wanted to get married later that day.
“I was overwhelmed because getting married was so important to me.
“Sam has been there for me through everything and it was important to me to demonstrate our commitment to each other in a permanent way.
“I was worried because I couldn’t do my dress up because of swelling caused by lymphedema, but I managed to keep it on for the service.
“I took it off afterwards and wore my pyjamas and the guests all took it in turns to come and sit in bed with me. I can hardly stand these days so Sam had to hold me up when we had our first dance.
“It was a very special and emotional day. Although it was sad in parts, it was also a celebration of everything we have been through and the time we have spent together.”
Husband Sam Hickling, 29, who worked as branch manager at Jewsons, in Louth, before leaving in November to be Sam’s full-time carer, explained: “We were in Harrogate in November when I proposed. We were in Betty’s tearoom and I just knew the time was right.
“I hadn't even had chance to buy a ring but I wanted her to know how committed I was and how much I love her.
“We are a team and although nothing has changed now that we’re married, we wanted to have that permanent bond.”
The wedding had originally been due to take place on June 22, but as doctors warned Samantha that she only had months to live, the big day was brought forward to March 17.
When her condition worsened, her mum and Sam decided to bring it forward again to surprise her.
It is a far cry from the wedding celebration Sam had envisaged earlier in their seven year relationship, but she says the effort made by her family and friends made it all the more special.
Samantha would like to thank all of her family and friends for their care and support and Jo’s Trust – which is dedicated to promoting awareness of cervical cancer and providing support for sufferers – for their help.
To find out more, visit www.jostrust.org.uk