SHE feared her wedding day would be her heart-breaking dying wish, but terminally-ill Kelly Bainbridge-Flor has defied the odds to celebrate her first wedding anniversary.
The brave 28-year-old, from Silksworth, was left devastated by the news that the breast cancer she thought she had beaten had spread to her brain.
Last year, she brought forward her wedding to Dino Flor amid fears her condition would dramatically worsen.
But the former Farringdon School pupil, who wrote a list of 25 things to do before she died to help in her fight for life, has continued to astound medics and is today celebrating her first wedding anniversary.
“It has been a really, really tough year for both of us,” she said. “But we’re looking forward to celebrating our anniversary.
“We’re so grateful for the time we’ve had together – time we never thought we’d have.”
Due to her illness, Kelly was first married at St Benedict’s Hospice, in Monkwearmouth, on August 18, 2011.
However, after her health improved, she was able to attend a second ceremony at St Paul’s Church, Ryhope, the following week.
“We are making the most of every second we have together,” said Portuguese-born Dino. “We know every moment is precious.
“Some people thought having to return to the hospice after the church wedding must have felt depressing, but they couldn’t be more wrong.
“It is a place of warmth, comfort and support. The staff and volunteers are amazing.”
The newly-weds spent their honeymoon at a luxury hotel, one of Kelly’s dying wishes, arriving in style in a vintage wedding car.
“We often go away together for short breaks, but it is difficult sometimes,” said Dino.
“We’ve managed to tick quite a few things off Kelly’s list, but one of her last wishes is to travel to Portugal to have a blessing in a church with my family.
“We know it is almost impossible because she isn’t allowed to fly, but we’re hoping we’ll somehow be able to manage it. It’s her dream.”
Today, staff and volunteers at St Benedict’s Hospice also paid tribute to the couple.
“I became quite close to Kelly and Dino while they were in St Benedict’s Hospice last year and was able to secure a night away in a local hotel for them for a belated honeymoon,” said fund-raiser Sylvia Stoneham.
“Staff and volunteers at the hospice wish them all the best as Kelly and Dino celebrate a milestone they thought they’d never achieve.
“I’m also thrilled to confirm the charity is funding another overnight stay in their honey-moon hotel.
“We’re so pleased they’ve made it this far and that we’re still able to support them.”
After being diagnosed with breast cancer and undergoing a course of chemotherapy two years ago, Kelly moved to Madeira, Portugal, where she met Dino, a hospital technician.
She returned to the UK to have a double mastectomy to prevent the cancer returning.
But despite being given the all-clear, Kelly was plagued with headaches and a scan revealed she had secondary cancer in her brain.
Portuguese medics advised Kelly, a call centre manager, to return to the UK for treatment, but she was told travelling on a normal plane could kill her because of the pressure.
Her employer paid for a private low-flying jet to take her back home so she could be treated at Newcastle’s RVI.
Four days after being given a week to live, Kelly and Dino had their dream wedding, followed by a reception at the Roker Hotel.
As a mini-honeymoon, St Benedict’s Hospice, where the couple were staying at the time, arranged a stay at a hotel.