A devastated groom delivered his wedding vows at his fiancée's funeral after she tragically passed away 2 weeks before they were going to tie the knot.
Ryan Dixon met Kate Wignall when they were only fifteen years old after he moved to her hometown, Lost Withiel in Cornwall, England. The pair became teenage sweethearts and quickly began planning their life together.
On May 30th, 2020, Ryan finally popped the question after 9 years together, to which she said yes. However the next day, seemingly out of nowhere, Kate began feeling agonizing chest pains.
After visiting various doctors and specialists, Kate was given the devastating news just 6 weeks after the proposal that she had skin cancer.
In a shocking turn, further tests revealed that it was stage four melanoma and had unfortunately spread to her brain, spine, spleen, kidney, and lungs. Shortly after her diagnosis last year Kate had said: "It was heartbreaking telling Ryan. We'd been on such a high and now our lives were suddenly and sharply going in a different direction."
At first, it seemed like Kate's treatment seemed to be working, but after spending Christmas with Ryan and her family at home, her condition seemed to take a sharp turn for the worse.
Ryan recalled: "Her scan in January had shown a significant decrease in her cancer, meaning her chemotherapy treatment was working as well as it was expected to. But then things happened very quickly."
Later that month, Kate found a lump in her breast, which doctors confirmed was melanoma and her cancer was continuing to spread.
She started a course of immunotherapy however in March it somehow got even worse. She began having bad headaches, being sick, and experiencing high temperatures and was taken to hospital where she received devastating news.
"Just 2 days into being in the hospital, Kate's oncologist phoned to say there was a serious bleed on her brain caused by a tumor," Ryan said. "They told us she might only have a couple of days to live."
The following day, Kate was allowed to return home where Ryan became her full-time carer. Kate began to perk up and doctors were hopeful the treatment had begun to take effect.
"When she came round at home we could talk again and we started the process of trying to get married," Ryan said, adding they moved up their wedding date and switched it to a small U.K ceremony instead of one in Rhodes, where they'd originally planned to marry.
"We went to the registrar's office and we had the rings and the venue all ready."
However, Kate's condition rapidly declined as the day approached. She sadly died on April 14th, 2021, just fourteen days before they were due to marry. She was twenty-five years old.
"We didn't quite make it," Ryan said."Only 3 and a half weeks after being at home she passed away with me, her mum, her dad, and her sister by her side at home."
"Kate's last memories were planning our wedding which is a slight comfort as she was so excited about it. She was very strong-willed, and she didn't want to get married at home. She wanted the venue and the dress and, typical Kate, she wouldn't have it any other way.
"But neither would I."
Instead of the wedding, her family began preparing for her funeral, making sure everything was "bright and colorful" like she would have wanted. Her mom and her sister write poems and messages which were to be read aloud. And Ryan decided to read out his wedding vows.
"I feel so privileged to have felt true love. To have loved you and been loved by you, to have lived our lives so fully, together. You have already given me the world, Kate. I will always love you and my heart will always belong to you."
On May 30th, exactly a year after he got down on one knee, he returned to the spot to scatter Kate's ashes. In the final months of her life, Kate compiled a "live list", containing things she wanted to do while she still had the time. Now, Ryan is fulfilling that list for her.
Ryan said: "With lockdown, we hadn't been able to do much. Kate wanted to go back to the cinema, go camping again and hike up Snowdon.
In memory of his fiancée, Ryan has also set about fundraising for Cancer Research UK and recently completed the Three Peaks Challenge, raising £5,300 for the charity
"I knew Kate wanted to hike up Snowdon, so it came from that," he said. "I am sure she was with us, bringing us sunshine, for the whole weekend."
Rest in Peace, Kate.