Gary passed away seven hours after the pair were wed (Picture: Laura Smart / SWNS)
A young father got to fulfill his final wish – to marry his girlfriend – just hours before he died of lung cancer.
Gary Smart, 33, had hoped to wed his partner Laura next year, but the pair had to rush their plans forward after he was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer last month.
‘After Gary was diagnosed with terminal cancer he told me he wanted to die a married man,’ explained Laura.
‘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.’
Unfortunately, Gary’s cancer was extremely aggressive and doctors told him that he had just days to live. So his loved ones sprung into action to help Gary fulfill his dream.
‘Mum and I went out, got the rings, came back and we were told the staff had sorted it all,’ added Laura.
‘They said, ‘We’ve got your special marriage licence and a priest. You’re getting married at seven o’clock.’
Gary, from Northampton, first fell ill in July when he came home from work with a bad back and chest pain.
He was losing weight and was unable to sleep so went to the doctors who drained fluid from his lungs and did a biopsy. In September the pair were told that he had an aggressive form of lung cancer.
Photos show the pair exchanging rings and vows as Gary lay in his hospital bed, hooked up to machines to help him breathe.
The couple even laid out a buffet for guests to enjoy the ceremony.
‘We had about 25 people there. We said we should have done it years ago,’ said Laura.
‘It was like everyone was saying goodbye to him at the same time. We all knew he was going to go.’
Just seven hours after making the marriage official, Gary passed away with his new bride at his side.
‘He managed to say his vows and put the ring on my finger and give me a kiss,’ she added. ‘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 3 am.
‘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. We only had seven hours of marriage but I was so grateful I could give him that.
‘He was a kind, lovely man. He loved his cars. He was always building things, offering to make things for people.’
Source: Metro UK