Couple use wedding to help fight cancer as groom battles the disease

Sean Bell and Deanne Fenwick on their wedding day at Sunderland Registry Office
Sean Bell and Deanne Fenwick on their wedding day at Sunderland Registry Office
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A GROOM used his wedding day to raise hundreds of pounds for the life-saving Sunderland cancer unit he has been getting vital treatment from.

Couple Sean and Deanne Bell tied the knot at the city’s Civic Centre registry office last month.

But the pair, who live in Hendon, decided to use the special occasion to raise money for the Royal Hospital’s Phoenix Unit, where Sean, 50, has been receiving treatment for bowel cancer over the past year.

Sean, who has been with Deanne for the past 13 years, was told in January that the cancer had spread to his liver after the first course of treatment failed to have the desired effect.

Rather than let Sean’s diagnosis get them down, the pair decided to use their wedding day to generate money for the unit after seeing first hand the work done there.

Following the ceremony, their reception at Hendon’s Ivy Leaf Club saw a raffle and domino card held, which has raised more than £300 for the hospital.

“It was a last-minute decision to do it but if we’d planned it earlier, we’d have made even more,” said Sean.

“But the guests all got involved and we’d like to say thanks to them.

“The nurses at the unit have been spot on.

“I can’t overstate how much they’ve helped me over the past year.

“If I tell them I’ve got a cold, they are there talking to me and seeing how I am.”

Sean has even more reason to give thanks to the ward, after he was told this week that the latest round of chemotherapy is working.

“I’ve just seen the consultant and got the good news that it is working,” added Sean.

“So I’m over the moon 
with that and just hoping it continues.”

Deanne, 41, who works with her husband at a homeless hostel in Middlesbrough, said: “The Phoenix Unit have been great.

“They’ve helped Sean through his ups and downs and we decided we just wanted to give something back, which is why we decided to do what we did on our wedding day.”

The Phoenix Unit, Sunderland Chemotherapy, Haematology and Infusion Day Unit, was officially opened by now former Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill in March last year.

The Northern Irishman’s wife, Geraldine, has in recent years battled Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.