Sunderland couple bring their dream wedding forward after groom is given just two months to live

An appeal has been launched to help a Sunderland couple who were forced to bring their wedding forward after he was given just two months to live.

Gavin and Caroline Donnelly had planned to marry next year but tied the knot at their home in Somerset Cottages, Silksworth, on Friday, August 26.

Now a GoFundMe page has been set up to ensure that Caroline is provided for when Gavin passes away – and has already raised more than £3,000.

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Caroline, 25, explained that she and Gavin, 33, had met through a dating website two years ago, when he had been in remission from a previous bout of sarcoma – a form of cancer which originates in the bones and soft connective issue around them.

At first, the couple had not realised the disease had returned – nor how quickly it had spread.

"We met in September 2020 and he was perfectly fine then – but he had had sarcoma in his left leg four years ago,” said Caroline.

“Last year he thought he had sciatica - they were giving him painkillers for sciatica – but it turned out his cancer had come back in his right leg, his lungs, his liver, spleen and bowels and now it has spread into his pelvis.

"Then he went into hospital, he was there for three weeks and developed sepsis.”

Gavin and Caroline Donnelly brought their wedding forward after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer

Caroline has devoted herself full-time to looking after former callcentre worker Gavin and making his final weeks as peaceful and enjoyable as possible.

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"He had a blockage in his bowel, so he could not go to the toilet and he was unable to keep anything down – even water,” she said.

"And we got to the point where the tumours on his legs were getting so big that he was unable to lift his legs any more – he cannot walk at all, he is completely bed-bound.

"But we have just had a hospital bed delivered so he is over the moon – now he can get comfortable.”

Gavin slips the ring onto Caroline's finger
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Gavin enjoys watching social media stars the Smithy Family on Facebook and Tik Tok and they have sent him a personalised message, much to his delight.

"I reached out to them and they got in touch,” said Caroline. “They have shared our story on their Facebook pages.”

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Gavin has undergone two bouts of chemotherapy at the Freeman Hospital but the couple are resigned to the fact his time is running out.

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Caroline (25) and Gavin (33) Donnelly. Picture by FRANK REID

Caroline explained the GoFundMe appeal had been launched in order to put Gavin’s mind at rest that she would not be saddled with major debts after he is gone and make his final days as happy as possible.

"He was in hospital three weeks ago and his consultant told him it was terminal,” she said Caroline. “He found out he only had two months to live.

“The GoFundMe has been set up because Gavin was getting worked up and was worrying about me having to pay for the funeral.

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“We are trying to raise as much as we can to make sure what life he has left is what he wants.”

You may kiss the bride
Caroline (25) and Gavin (33) Donnelly. Picture by FRANK REID
Gavin has just weeks to live
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Caroline has become Gavin's full-time carer
Caroline (25) and Gavin (33) Donnelly. Picture by FRANK REID