Dy­ing bride aged five

Wed­ding was my Eileidh’s last wish

Real People - - NEWS -

What a lit­tle fam­ily they made…

My five-yearold daugh­ter Eileidh was wheel­ing a pram into the mid­dle of the liv­ing room. Sit­ting in it was our tabby cat, Tinker­belle, look­ing very put-upon!

And be­side the pair of them was Har­ri­son Grier, Eileidh’s six-year-old best friend.

‘I’m go­ing to marry Eileidh when I’m older,’ Har­ri­son an­nounced as me and his mum, Ste­fanie, cracked up.

‘Do you ac­cept his pro­posal?’ I asked Eileidh.

‘Yes,’ she told us solemnly. But there’d been a time when I couldn’t even pic­ture a fu­ture for my lit­tle girl…

It had started when Eileidh was two. She’d sud­denly be­gun breath­ing strangely. A chest in­fec­tion, I won­dered. Our GP sent us straight to hos­pi­tal.

Scans, tests and lots of frowns fol­lowed. Then the re­sults – a 6cm by 8cm tu­mour in her ab­domen. I just started scream­ing. This was my tod­dler – full of beans and mis­chief. Yes­ter­day, she’d been reach­ing into the tank to try to stroke our pet fish. The day be­fore that, she’d painted her face with my blue eye­shadow.

And yet, the whole time, this tu­mour had been lurk­ing, grow­ing. It was a can­cer called neu­rob­las­toma – the tu­mour had rup­tured an artery, fill­ing her chest with blood, which was crush­ing her right kid­ney and right lung.

My other kids, Cal­lum, 17, Ciaran, 11, and Cerys, 10, cried with me when I told them. But then it was time to dry my eyes.

Eileidh needed me strong as she started chemo and her beau­ti­ful blonde hair fell out.

‘I’m glad, Mummy,’ the lit­tle ras­cal an­nounced.

She’d never liked any­thing on her head. It was al­ways a fight to get a hat onto her. Now I re­alised it even ex­tended to her own hair!

But she was fear­less. Off she’d go for chemo, princess dress on, dummy in place.

And the poi­son worked – the tu­mour shrank, un­til it was small enough to be re­moved. Then Eileidh had a stem cell trans­plant.

When her hair came back, it had grown all kinky. We called her Tina Turner!

In May 2016, Eileidh went for one of her reg­u­lar scans.

I was called in af­ter. ‘There’s a tu­mour un­der Eileidh’s jaw,’ her doc­tor said. ‘What?’ I gasped.

The can­cer had sneaked up on us again.

‘I’m home!’ Eileidh cheered, run­ning on to the ward she’d left barely a year be­fore.

But this time the chemo flat­tened her.

Thank good­ness for Har­ri­son. His vis­its could make her smile even when her mouth was full of ul­cers.

One time, as he and Eileidh watched a film, Ste­fanie drew me aside.

‘I no­ticed one of my rings was miss­ing,’ she gig­gled. ‘Har­ri­son told me he was go­ing to use it as an en­gage­ment ring.’

‘Oh, that’s so sweet,’

I chuck­led. ‘Reckon it’s time to buy a hat!’

The can­cer re­treated again, but this time it left a lit­tle bit of ter­ror be­hind in my heart.

Was it re­ally gone? Or just lurk­ing… wait­ing?

‘Please be gone for good,’ I prayed.

But in Fe­bru­ary this year, Eileidh com­plained that her mouth hurt.

Fear churned as I ex­am­ined her. I could def­i­nitely feel a lump on the left-hand side of her jaw. It was back yet again.

‘I’m so sorry, there’s noth­ing more we can do,’ her doc­tors told me, help­lessly.

‘This can’t be hap­pen­ing,’ I bawled.

When I rang Ste­fanie to tell her, she was dis­traught, too.

A cou­ple of weeks later, I snug­gled up to Eileidh.

‘What would you like to do most in the world?’ I whis­pered. She thought for a few sec­onds. ‘Marry Har­ri­son,’ she said. De­spite ev­ery­thing, I had a good old chuckle… This was real love!

I rang Ste­fanie and told her. ‘Har­ri­son will be thrilled,’ she said.

‘I think we should do it,’ I told her. ‘You know, let them… ’

I ex­plained what I was think­ing. Then, Har­ri­son and his mum came over.

‘Do you still want to marry Eileidh?’ I asked him.

He nod­ded. ‘It’s all I want to do,’ he said.

So we started plan­ning. My lit­tle girl was dy­ing and she was only five. Her bucket list con­sisted of one big day – and I was go­ing to make sure she got it.

Eileidh adored princesses, and one of my friends, Zara, ran an en­ter­tain­ment com­pany called Love Rara.

She’d sent some princesses to visit Eileidh in hos­pi­tal.

‘Eileidh is go­ing to be a bride a nd marry

Har­ri­son,’ I told

A fairy-tale wed­ding Eileidh was so ex­cited to ‘marry’ Har­ri­son Eileidh’s ‘Tina Turner’ hair

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