A couple arranged and got married within 24 hours at Shooting Star House, our hospice in Hampton, after being told there was no more doctors could do for their nine-month-old son.
Amy Gowlett and Liam Ralph, from Croydon, arrived at Shooting Star House on Wednesday after being told their son, Jakub, could die within days due to a metabolic condition called Menkes.
After arriving at the hospice they mentioned to care staff they had always hoped to get married before Jakub passed away but didn’t think it would happen so soon.
“Jakub was diagnosed in July and we’d always planned to get married but he has deteriorated really quickly and on Friday the hospital said there was nothing more they could do for him,” said Amy.
“We were told about Shooting Star Chase but didn’t really want to come as a hospice sounds like it will be a depressing building with one little room. But we arrived on Wednesday and were blown away by this amazing place. We mentioned how we wanted to get married before the time comes and they immediately started helping us to arrange it.”
Staff at the hospice helped to arrange a vicar, photographer and decorations, while family members bought dresses and suits for the wedding party. Within 24 hours everything had been arranged and the ceremony took place on Thursday afternoon.
Dad Liam said: “It has been a day I’ll never ever forget. Everyone at the hospice has been so kind since we arrived and they moved heaven and earth to make it happen.”
The new Mrs Ralph added: “They’ve been like our very own wedding planners. Jakub is part of us and always will be but we don’t know how long we’ve got with him so to have him witness our wedding is amazing. Words can’t properly explain what it means to us.”
Sandi Hillery, Head of Care at Shooting Star House, said this was a first for the charity. “It’s the first time we’ve been asked to do something like this. As well as our medical and nursing care, we try to create happy memories for families to cherish, even in the most difficult times, so it has been a huge privilege to be part of their special day.”