Terminally ill woman marries partner after devastating health update
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Featured Image Credit: Instagram/kelliefinlayson_
A brave bride tied the knot with the love of her life, AFL athlete Jeremy Finlayson, this weekend after being given a devastating health update.
Kellie Gardner said 'I do' on Tennyson Beach in South Australia on Sunday (5 March) in front of just 21 close friends and family members.
Her wedding to the Port Adelaide football star had originally planned to have their big day in October, but pushed it forward after Kellie received a heartbreaking diagnosis.
The mum-of-one was first diagnosed with bowel cancer when she was 25 years old, and thought she was in the clear after a year of chemotherapy, radiation and surgeries.
But this January, she was told that the cancer was back, and this time it had spread to her lungs.
Despite being a fit, young woman, who had ran marathons and welcomed a healthy baby girl just last year, Kellie's diagnosis was terminal.
"My cancer that was in my colon had metastasised and spread to my lungs," Gardner said to 7News.
“I was angry, that was probably the main emotion.
"The other was scared; not for myself, but for Sophia and Jez."
With this new, sobering information, Kellie and Jeremy decided to get married sooner.
She had explained to The Advertiser: "I wanted to get married with my hair and I have started losing hair."
The couple kept the big day hush hush, so when it came around, it was 'a surprise for everyone but our bridal party, and family and friends attending'.
Ahead of the wedding, Kellie added that her 19-month-old Sophia would have 'no idea' what was going on.
She said: "She just knows her favourite people will be in Adelaide for the weekend."
The newlyweds plan to host a bigger celebration this October when Jeremy's AFL season ends.
Meanwhile, Kellie has vowed to be with her husband and baby girl for as long as she can.
As well as prolonging her life, Kellie and Jeremy are hoping to get her fertility treatment, so that their daughter Sophia can grow up with some siblings.
In the couple's GoFundMe page, they write: "Unfortunately this diagnosis and treatment plan will continue to impact Kellie's life beyond the next 12 months.
"One of the many side effects of the radiation is the impact it can have on a woman’s infertility.
"Kellie and Jeremy want nothing more than to continue growing their family and give gorgeous Sophia siblings to grow up with.
"Therefore, another step in this process will be harvesting Kellie's eggs to increase the chances to make this possible."
Speaking to 7News about what the next 12 months look like for her family, Kellie shared: "The doctors are doing everything they possibly can to ensure that I’m still here for my wedding in October and, even more importantly, I see my daughter at her own wedding in 20 years time.
“I’m not entirely sure what the outcome will be.
“But I guess the hope is to shrink or at least maintain the cancer that is already present ... This is just a teeny reality of having a terminal illness."