My mum died just hours before I got married – but I still carried on with my big day | The Sun

My mum died just hours before I got married – but I still carried on with my big day | The Sun

May 11, 2023

A HEARTBROKEN bride walked down the aisle just hours after being told her mother had died – in tribute to her final wish.

Distraught Lara Heaney pressed ahead with what she knew her mother Ann would want despite tragically missing out on the big day herself.

NHS worker Ann died from pancreatic cancer shortly after checking in with husband Andrew to accommodation ahead of her daughter's marriage.

Lara has now described the agony she felt when her dad arrived on her wedding morning to break the news 60-year-old Ann had died.

But they both resolved to go ahead with the ceremony in Ann's honour.

And Lara is now taking part in a muddy obstacle course to raise money for the charity Cancer Research UK, dedicating her efforts to her mother.

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Lara, 36, and from Newquay in Cornwall, had spent the evening before her wedding spending time with her parents where they were staying overnight for the occasion.

She told Cornwall Live: "We laughed, smiled and I went home to get ready for my big day.

“On the morning at 6am on my wedding day, there was a knock at the door – I leapt out of bed ready for my hair and make-up, but it was my dad letting me know my mum had gone.

"As soon as I saw it was him at the door I knew what he was going to tell me.

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"I knew she wasn't well and what was coming but I didn't think it would be that day – with her last breath and my dad by her side, she had told him the day must go on."

The pair managed to go ahead with Lara's marriage to husband Sean despite the trauma – though she admitted it was difficult.

She said: “I don’t know how we all kept it together, but through the love and support of my family we made it and carried out mum’s wish that the wedding should carry on.

"The priest had made the announcement of mum’s death at the packed church of 200 guests before I arrived and I understand it was handled beautifully.

“Dad made a speech as planned at the reception and included mum’s death, of course, in the speech.

"The sun came out the second we left the church, which felt like we were really being looked down upon – I even got sunburnt."

She and Sean now raise a cocktail as a toast every year on the anniversary of both their marriage and Ann's death.

Lara added: "Whenever the sun comes out, I know mum is looking down.

"Since her death I mark our wedding anniversary and her death by going for a walk on the headland in Newquay.

"It gives me time to reflect and to remember her. I miss her every day."

She and her mother had managed just before Ann's death to go together to a London concert by her mum's favourite band Take That.

Ann, who worked for Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, was diagnosed with late-stage pancreatic cancer on March 10 2016,

The devastating news came shortly after returning from a trip to Brisbane in Australia to visit another daughter Sarah, son-in-law Luke and grandson Toby.

Lara recalled: “Mum thought she was just jetlagged as she felt tired and had a pain in her back.

After a while she went to see her doctor who gave her blood tests and checked for any gallstone problems.

"But on March 10, which is my brother’s birthday, we found out that mum had been diagnosed with late-stage pancreatic cancer, which had spread to her liver and we were told it was not treatable.

“With a three-month prognosis we feel very blessed and privileged that she made it to the wedding day as she promised.

"Pancreatic cancer is such an aggressive cancer with such easily missed symptoms.

"My mum fought with everything she had to spend more time with us all and we miss her every day.”

Lara is now preparing to take part in the 5km "Pretty Muddy" event at Stithians Showground in the Cornish city of Truro on Saturday next week.

Also joining her will be her friend Lexi Burnell, who was also there at Lara's wedding.

Lara, who works at Blue Reef Aquarium in Newquay, said: "I'm nervous but it feels amazing to be able to do it.

"Pancreatic cancer is such an aggressive cancer and even though it has a low survival rate, it doesn't receive as much publicity about it.

"I think it's important to raise awareness. People have been so generous so far and donated money to our team, which we are really grateful for."

Online comments from donors include one supporter Valerie Moustrides saying: "Fantastic cause Lara. I admire your strength, you coped so well on your wedding day."

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Their fundraising page can be found at Mind over Mudder.

Health experts have highlighted key symptoms of pancreatic cancer to be aware of, following the death in January of former Chelsea and Italy footballer Gianluca Vialli from the disease.

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