Cancer patient marries childhood sweetheart hours before death

Francesca Specter
Yahoo Style UK deputy editor
Laura Smart helps her dying husband fulfill his last wish as she marries him on his deathbed. [Photo: SWNS]

A poignant series of photographs show a man fulfilling his wish to wed - hours before he died.

Gary Smart, 33, was engaged to marry Laura Smart, 31, next year. However, last month he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

The dad-of-six first met Laura when the pair were teenagers, but fell out of contact. They later reunited and began dating in their late 20s, after having children with other partners.

The pair were forced to change their wedding plans after Gary’s diagnosis, in order to fulfil the groom’s wish of dying a married man.

The couple said their vows in Northampton General Hospital with 25 guests gathered around the groom’s bed. The wedding food was an impromptu buffet organised by hospital staff.

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Laura, who has one daughter from a previous relationship, said: “After Gary was diagnosed with terminal cancer he told me he wanted to die a married man.

“We thought we might have more time together but it wasn’t to be. Last Friday staff said it wouldn’t be long and they helped us organise our wedding.

“Mum and I went out, got the rings, came back and we were told the staff had sorted it all.

Gary Smart, 33, had hoped to wed Laura Smart, 31, next year before his diagnosis. [Photo: SWNS]
The dad-of-six had aggressive lung cancer and was given just months to live. [Photo: SWNS]

“They said, ‘We've got your special marriage licence and a priest. You're getting married at seven o'clock.’

In just an hour more than 25 family and friends dashed to the hospital to witness the couple exchange vows.”

She told of their tragic wedding night: “That night I laid in bed with him. We watched Fast and Furious 8 as he was into cars. I managed to fall asleep and woke up when the call button went off at 3am.

“I looked at Gary and he was staring at me, like he was trying to reach out to me.

“I had a conversation with him and then realised, his oxygen mask was not on right and he wasn't breathing.

Heartbreaking photos show Gary holding hands and exchanging vows with Laura as he lay in his hospital bed last Friday evening. [Photo: SWNS]
Staff arranged an impromptu wedding buffet. [Photo: SWNS]

“We only had seven hours of marriage but I was so grateful I could give him that.”

READ MORE: Woman who beat cancer so excited she broke 'cancer-free' bell

Gary had first began feeling ill in July, complaining of a bad back and chest pain, and losing weight. He underwent an X-ray and a biopsy. However, it was not until 29 September that he was told he was suffering an aggressive form of lung cancer.

“He was a wonderful man and I was proud to be his wife,” added Laura.

Earlier this month, a dying man married the love of his life in a bucket-list wedding after friends and family donated the entire ceremony.

Myles Harrison, 27, was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of 18 but his condition worsened recently and doctors were forced to deliver the tragic news that there was nothing more they could do.

But learning of his terminal diagnosis spurred Myles into action, and he has now tied the knot with his fiancee Liz, 29, in a stunning ceremony, which was entirely donated by well-wishers.