A terminally ill mother from Coatbridge who planned her own funeral enjoyed a ‘fairytale wedding‘ as she was accompanied down the aisle by her three-year-old son.
Brave Natalie Sanders, 30, lit up the room with her beaming smile – and looked stunning in an ivory fishtail dress and crystal-encrusted cathedral train – as her eyes focused on Idrees Mohammad, the man who ‘she was about to marry.
The happy couple exchanged vows in a moving ceremony at Crossbasket Castle in Blantyre on Saturday.
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It was a magical day Natalie thought she would never see after being diagnosed with grade 4 metastatic breast cancer in September last year – when she only had 12 months to live.
And it was all made possible by the Wedding Wish Makers charity, which appealed for help from kind-hearted vendors and donations from friends and family.
Natalie told Lanarkshire Live: âIt really was the best day of my life, right after the day our baby was born.
âZeke is our whole world and one of the reasons we were so desperate to get married was that he will always have fond memories of our special day.
âI was struck by so many emotions as he put his little hand in mine and led me down the aisle to the sound of the bagpipes. I couldn’t really believe this was finally happening.
âI didn’t think I would live to see this day, especially after doctors told me to move it forward and then it kept being postponed due to COVID restrictions or because I was really sick.
âIn the end, everything worked out perfectly because we were able to accommodate 50 guests instead of the original five.
âBeing able to share the day with friends and family made it even more special.â
The couple and their guests enjoyed a sit-down meal with cupcakes and a wedding cake donated by one of Natalie’s co-workers.
And there was not a dry eye in the castle when the bride and groom descended on the floor for their first dance to Edwina Hayes’ track, “Feels Like Home”.
The inspiring mom-of-one, whose uncle Kevin Mcinally also walked her down the aisle, said: âThe whole day was perfect from start to finish.
âWe couldn’t have done it without our Guardian Angel, Suzanne Stevenson, of the Wedding Wish Makers, and all the vendors who offered their services – from the celebrant and the car company to the bagpiper, photographer and videographer.
âMy lovely cousin Charlene bought me my beautiful dress and the hairdresser worked her magic on my wig and managed to get it into a wedding. It was magical and I can’t thank everyone enough.
Natalie, who has the defective BRCA gene, was initially diagnosed with grade 3 triple negative breast cancer in October 2019.
She underwent intensive treatment before being told she was cancer free in May of last year. But barely a month later, a painful buildup of fluid in her right breast caused concern, and doctors found the cancer had in fact spread.
At that time, they told her that she had between six and 12 months to live.
She started another course of radiation therapy before learning that her medical team had managed to obtain a wonder drug called Talazoparib, which is currently not available on the NHS.
Natalie, who planned her own funeral, said: âI was told not only that my cancer was back after getting the green light, but that it was terminal, was devastating.
âBut one little piece of good news that I was able to share down the aisle was that I appeared to have a positive response to the trial drug.
âMy exam earlier this month showed that the cancer was stable and that there was a slight reduction in the mass in my breast.
âIn addition to drugs, I also try alternative medicines, including cannabis oil, a low-sugar plant-based diet, and ionized water.
âI know nothing can cure what I have, but doctors hope it will delay the inevitable. I will try anything for my son again someday.
âZeke allows me to continue. I wouldn’t be here without him. I can guarantee you I would have given up the fight a long time ago if he wasn’t here. He’s such a sweet little boy and his jokes are amazing.
âIdrees has also been my cornerstone throughout my battle with cancer. We had only been going out for 18 months when I received my first diagnosis.
âI don’t know how he coped. He is so kind and generous and nothing is too much trouble. The idea of ââleaving them behind breaks my heart and I have to keep fighting for them.
“I wrote whatever I want at my funeral, including the music, because God save me when the day comes, I don’t think he will handle it very well and I don’t want him to have it. additional stress.
“Writing Zeke’s birthday cards when I’m not here has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life because it makes her so real.”
Idrees proposed to Natalie in January 2020 and they had planned to wait a few years and save.
She said, âI was lying in my bed feeling exhausted after a chemo session, Idrees called me downstairs. He and Zeke were both standing there, dressed in fancy suits.
“In front of them was a puzzle with a picture of us on it and the words ‘will you marry me?’
âThere were rose petals all over the floor. I hurried upstairs to retrieve my wig, thinking, “I’m not going to be bald for my romantic proposition.”
“It was so special.”
Natalie, whose bridesmaids Charlene and Debbie Mcinally hosted a bachelorette party last month, said: âI wasn’t, but I wouldn’t change a thing about Saturday.
âWe have a family / honeymoon vacation planned for August, but we’ll have to see how things go.
âI think I’ll take longer than what the doctors said.
“They gave me late August or early September, but I feel great and my results are the same if not better than they were around the same time last year – so there is definitely hope. .
“It is hope and my two beautiful boys that keep me going.”
Idrees added, âI really can’t believe it.
âAll I ever wanted was to be married to Natalie and complete our little family.
âIt was a fairytale day. Thanks to the charity and kindness of strangers, our dreams have come true and for that I will be eternally grateful.
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