A bride has told how her special day turned to tragedy when her severely ill father died just hours before he was due to walk her down the aisle.
Charlotte Garrard, 29, from Essex, was due to marry her partner of four years Ashley, also 29, on March 30 this year, and hoped her father Tim Lomas would be able to attend.
Tim, 56, was suffering from one of the most aggressive forms of brain tumour, and he was given a life expectancy of just three to six months.
Just hours before the couple were meant to say ‘I do’, Charlotte’s father passed away at home surrounded by his family.
Charlotte Garrard, 29, was due to marry her partner of four years Ashley, also 29, on March 30 this year in the hope her father Tim Lomas would be able to attend. But on the morning of the wedding, her father sadly passed away – meaning it had to be postponed
Charlotte, a nurse at Broomfield Hospital, said: ‘I phoned to register my dad’s death and cancel my wedding at the same time.
‘For a little while I just thought I could never get married.
‘It was really hard, I felt like I didn’t want to get married if my dad couldn’t walk me down the aisle.’
Charlotte said her dad did not experience symptoms prior to the day he was diagnosed – she said he never smoked, hardly ever drank alcohol and rarely got colds.
However his health started to deteriorate in January when he was at work and discovered he couldn’t read the email on his screen.
Tim was an industrial engineer and project manager in the oil and gas industry.
Charlotte, from Maldon, Essex said: ‘He was preparing for a conference call he had a job out on Copenhagen.
Tim, 56, (pictured with Charlotte) was suffering from one of the most aggressive forms of brain tumour and he was given a life expectancy of just three to six months
‘But he couldn’t make sense of what he was reading and he went to go and see his boss and his boss said that it looked like he had been drinking.
‘My dad just kept thinking it was stress.’
However, he went straight to A&E and was immediately sent for urgent scans – where doctors found that there were two cancerous brain tumours.
Tim’s health started to rapidly deteriorate after his diagnoses as he suffered a stroke, had a blood clot in his leg, and had to have surgery to drain an abscess on his face.
Charlotte said: ‘It was awful. It is just like your worst nightmare.
Charlotte, a nurse at Broomfield Hospital, in Essex said: ‘I phoned to register my dad’s death and cancel my wedding at the same time. For a little while I just thought I could never get married’. Pictured: Charlotte on her wedding day two months later
‘From the day of being in A&E to his death was just 82 days and they said he had three to six months. It was that quick.
‘The doctors said it was quite rapid, it’s one of the most aggressive forms of brain cancer. He literally only could’ve had it for a few days.
‘He didn’t experience anything before this. He had a little bit of a headache that morning but that was it.
‘They thought he might have had the tumour for two years prior to it, but then he had a brain biopsy.
‘They found that he had Glioblastomas in his brain and that there were already two’.
Glioblastomas is where a large portion of tumour cells are reproducing and dividing at any given time, they tend to be more aggressive and tend to affect older patients.
She added: ‘The day of wedding came and my mum called me and said to listen to his breathing because he was snoring really heavily.
Charlotte said her dad (pictured) did not experience symptoms prior to the day he was diagnosed – she said he never smoked, hardly ever drank alcohol and rarely got colds. However his health started to deteriorate in January when he was at work and discovered he couldn’t read the email on his screen
‘And so I drove round straight away and then that was it. We were all round him and he passed away.
‘It is all a bit of a blur. But I didn’t want to leave his side the night before. I left him watching television, eating his pasta bake.
‘I had only been home a couple of hours and then my mum called.
‘We were due to go to the venue to start setting up for the wedding in five hours’ time. Our wedding was at 4pm.’
WHAT IS A GLIOBLASTOMA?
Glioblastomas are the most common cancerous brain tumours in adults.
They are fast growing and likely to spread.
Glioblastomas’ cause is unknown but may be related to a sufferer’s genes if mutations result in cells growing uncontrollably, forming a tumour.
Treatment is usually surgery to remove as much of the tumour as possible, followed by a combination of radio- and chemotherapy (chemoradiation).
It can be difficult to remove all of the growth as glioblastomas have tendrils that extend to other regions of the brain. These are targeted via chemoradiation.
Glioblastomas are often resistant to treatment as they are usually made up of different types of cells. Therefore, medication will kill off some cells and not others.
The average survival time is between 12 and 18 months.
Only 20 per cent of patients live longer than a year and just three per cent survive over three years.
Source: The Brain Tumour Charity
Tim left behind his wife Jane, 55, and two children Charlotte and her younger brother Chris, 27. His funeral was on April 26.
And Charlotte and Ashley re-booked her wedding at the Vaulty Manor in Heybridge, Essex to be on her mum’s birthday May 17.
Charlotte added: ‘We decided to do it on my mum’s birthday because dad always made such a big fuss about her birthday.
‘My mum was really anxious about it all.
‘My brother walked me down the aisle and he did the speech’.
In a bid to raise some money for the Brain Tumour Charity, Charlotte decided to shave off her hair days after getting wed.
She also donated 17 inches to the Little Princess Trust. So far she had raised more than £4,000 for charity.
Charlotte added: ‘I got my hair cut on Monday. I only kept my hair for the wedding because dad made me promise to keep it for the wedding. Because he loved my hair.
Today, she is dying her hair grey as that’s the colour of brain cancer awareness.
Sarah Lindsell, The Brain Tumour Charity’s chief executive, said: ‘Our hearts go out to Charlotte and her family after the death of her wonderful dad Tim.
‘By sharing her dad’s story, Charlotte has done so much in raising vital funds and awareness of the impact of a brain tumour.
‘Her family’s loss is a fierce reminder of why we must move further and faster every day in the battle against brain tumours, so that other families do not have to endure this kind of heartbreak in the future.
Tim (pictured) left behind his wife Jane, 55, and two children Charlotte and her younger brother Chris, 27. His funeral was on April 26
In a bid to raise some money for the Brain Tumour Charity, Charlotte decided to shave off her hair days after getting wed. She also donated 17 inches to the Little Princess Trust. So far she had raised more than £4,000 for charity
‘We are committed to fighting for all those people whose lives are turned upside down by this devastating disease.’
The Brain Tumour Charity is the UK’s largest dedicated brain tumour charity, committed to fighting brain tumours on all fronts.
They fund pioneering research to increase survival and improve treatment options as well as raising awareness of the symptoms and effects of brain tumours to bring about earlier diagnosis.
The Charity also provides support for everyone affected so that they can live as full a life as possible, with the best quality of life.