Celebrant Views, Charity

Real Weddings: In the Face of Adversity, Love is Everything

me and my partner with Cat at the fundraiser the following day

In the Face of Adversity, Love is Everything.  Well in this case, sadly, money is everything, because without it, Cat wouldn’t still be here and without more of it, there will be no more treatment.

Cat has terminal bowel cancer.  Having been given just months to live, two and a half years ago, the NHS offered her palliative care and sent her home to live the last bit of her life.

lace armband hides Cat's canula, amazing long red wig to go with her romantic goth look for the occasion,
I love the lace cover for Cat’s cannula. And her collection of wigs… The one for her vow renewal service is lush

Cat and her husband Darren were having none of it.  They had had barely 8 precious years together were not ready to call it a day.  After some heavy duty research they found professor Vogel in Germany.  Through selling off their possessions and extensive fundraising they have been living from one treatment to the next.  Living a full and happy life that Cat was told she would not have, but always in the shadow of where the next £5000 will come from.

Because £5000 is what it costs each time they go for treatment: flights, cheap hotels, treatment and medication.  It’s proven to have been helping; reducing some of the areas of cancer; helping Cat, Darren and their family make more memories and share more love and friendship; but each time they need £5000, it is harder to find the money.  They’ve sold all the things its easy to sell.  Her community have been and continue to be generous and supportive and the local press have been telling her story too.  But, its no longer fresh news.  And that’s the reality of it.

Nobody knows how much longer Cat has, but we do know that she is determined to keep fighting and is going to enjoy every moment of her precious life

gothic archThis week they celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary and they were holding another fundraiser for treatment funds so I decided to gift them a vow renewal ceremony whilst all their friends and family were around.

I approached Cat and offered her a vow renewal ceremony as a gift…. it is something I knew she was keen to do in front of all her family and friends as I’d met her before and suggested a micro celebration free of charge at my micro venue.  But it would have been impossible to choose who to leave out.
vow renewal ceremony sitting downOn the evening of Friday 2nd June in a field in Llanddewi, just behind their home,  (with immeasurable gratitude to the farmer for letting them use the space); surrounded by all her dearest friends, children and family I officiated a celebration of enduring love, gratitude  and a celebration of the strength found in partnership and community.

Today, we are gathered before the main music and party event to pause for a minute and take stock.  To breathe in this very precious moment and acknowledge, everything they have achieved together, express gratitude, love, and eternal commitment to each other, in front of the people who matter to them the most.  And to reaffirm the vows they made to each other 10 years ago, in front of you all, and ask you to affirm your commitment to continue to love, support and cherish them, whatever the future holds and however the future unfolds.  Both Darren and Cat are such strong people, but even the strong amongst us need to replenish our strength.  For them to do this they need all of you to provide your positive energy, some of your own strength and determination, and your open hearts.

congregation sat in a circle, surrounding the couple with love and strengthCat had recently been offered a course of radiotherapy by the NHS, she’d had a couple of sessions already, but she’d also had one that morning, I knew standing would not be an option so I arranged for them to sit.  They sat under a gothic rose arch, I sat to one side, and their closest friends and family were invited to form a circle around them and sat on the grass, holding hands.

I invite all of those present to form a circle and hold hands around this couple.  I invite you to look at them and send them all the love and strength you can spare to carry them through the next chapters of their future.   
using song rather than spoken word to express love and gratitudeCat wrote the most emotional vows and words of gratitude to Darren; and Darren wrote the most beautiful ear worm of a song , “Better Man” which he sang to Cat in our circle  as everyone cried.  It was so emotional,
The crowd were asked to affirm vows an promises to the couple with some loud “WE DO” responses and we completed the ceremony with a hand blessing, where the couple held each others hands to their hearts, looked at them closely and recognised the strengths and comforts each others had given to the other
… And lastly, these are the hands that have lifted your chin and brushed your cheek as they raised your face to look into eyes that are ever filled with overwhelming love for you. 
hand blessingThe Friday celebrations continued into the evening with jamming around a camp fire.  The music festival weekend with the generosity of all the bands, artists, stall holders and attendees; raised over £2500…. half way to the next treatment which is due soon,
If you want to support Cat’s cause, you can donate via https://www.gofundme.com/f/helping-cat-kick-cancers-ass  or simply share this blog to help raise awareness

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