Bride organises lockdown wedding in just 36 hours following fiancee's cancer diagnosis
A bride pulled together a wedding for her and her partner in just 36 hours following a devastating cancer diagnosis.
Stuart Bathers, 39, and Esther Bate-Williams 41, met in June 2020, falling for one another immediately.
Just six months later, however, the couple received devastating news that Stuart had an incurable, cancerous brain tumour.
With gruelling treatment imminent, the pair decided on a last-minute lockdown wedding, and are continuing to try for a baby as they’d been planning previously.
Esther told Wales Online : ''We just connected straight away and - as insane as it sounds - talked about how we both wanted to have kids on that first date.
"From day one, there was an assumption that we were a couple and we could start planning a future together.
"At the time my wedding floristry business had been hit for six by Covid, and he really helped me cope, always upbeat and inspiring me to stay strong.
"We became so close so incredibly quickly, not just the heady first days of passion, but a proper bond - a complete partnership on every level."
Stuart first began complaining of headaches in January 2021 but was unable to get a GP appointment.
Before long, he was forgetting simple bits of information and struggling to talk, with Esther at first believing he may have had a stroke.
"He could remember my first name but not my second, and I was asking him other questions like the name of his niece which wouldn't normally be hard for him to recall," added Esther, who initially thought Stuart may have suffered a stroke.
After being referred to hospital for a CT scan, a “mass” was found on Stuart’s brain, suspected to be an aggressive brain cancer called glioblastoma.
"Our relationship went from zero to 100 after our first date - and then it went from 100 to 1,000 after his awful diagnosis," Esther told WalesOnline.
"We were just totally shocked when we were told. Stuart didn't say much, and I was there crying and trying to ask as many questions as I could."
Two days after the diagnosis, Stuart proposed with family surrounding them in their local park.
The pair married shortly afterwards at Stroud registry office, with preparations made at speed.
"Stuart had already had his suit and a photographer and friend who I have worked with in the past came down to do the wedding photos.
"We got home after the wedding, got changed so we could travel to hospital as they needed to do the biopsy of the tumour. They admitted Stuart as an emergency patient and he had a two-night stay”, said Esther.
Stuart has lost further functions since being diagnosed, including being unable to write, text or read.
The couple’s friends have set up a JustGiving page to raise money for Stuart to have pioneering treatment in Germany involving DNA analysis of the tumour and a bespoke immunotherapy vaccine.