Although she’s now tired, Emily Wood “absolutely” enjoyed her dying wish of a beautiful wedding day, according to her new husband Shawn Wood.
“It was a little overwhelming (for Emily),” Shawn said of the wedding last week. But, “there was just times when we looked at each other and it’s almost as if everything else just disappeared and it was just kind of us for a minute there — and especially when we were doing our vows and stuff, it was like no one else was there at all, and it was just unreal for her.
“And she said she was crying all day but it was because she was so happy.”
Emily, 24, was diagnosed with Stage 4 aggressive large-cell lymphoma in January and underwent various chemotherapy treatments since then.
A couple of weeks ago doctors gave her just three to 12 months left to live.
Twenty-eight-year-old Shawn — her boyfriend of nine years and fiancée for five of those — was beside her when she got the news, and when he asked her what she wanted the most in the world, her answer was to be his wife.
The couple didn’t have extra cash for a wedding due to health-related costs, but wanted to marry as soon as possible, so Shawn reached out to the community.
Within days, offers of goods, services and cash came rolling in from businesses and individuals. And Shawn set up an indiegogo account online with a goal of $5,000 by the end of July 11, which quickly sailed past that mark. As of Tuesday morning, these donations totalled just under $12,000.
And a bridal boutique in Nanaimo gave Emily her and her maid of honour’s dresses, and Shawn still sounded awestruck nearly a week later when asked how she looked in it.
“Oh, she was just absolutely gorgeous,” he said. “The second that those old doors opened and I saw her, I just started swelling up with tears and it started running (down my face), and yeah, she was just absolutely gorgeous.”
The couple married in the Central Evangelical Free Church on Fitzgerald Avenue, and had a small reception of about 30 close friends and family at White Spot, where Emily used to work before her health turned.
They spent their wedding night at the Old House Village Hotel and Spa, and they spent the next night at the Kingfisher Oceanside Resort and Spa.
On July 29, they will head out on a seven-night Alaskan cruise donated by Expedia CruiseShipCenters Comox Valley.
However, Shawn said all the activity the couple experienced in the past couple of weeks has drained Emily, and her health has worsened.
“Emily’s gotten quite weak now, and she’s not sleeping very well, and in a bit of pain, and a lot of swelling happening, so we’re just letting her rest and take it easy,” he said, adding she’s having some issues with her vision as well. “It’s time for her to kind of think about her, and we’re looking at, now, alternative treatments.”
Emily and Shawn have repeated said she will not give up her fight against cancer even though she decided to stop chemotherapy treatments and focus on her quality of life.
She’s trying an alkaline diet right now, and considering other therapies like Reiki, which is a spiritual stress relieving and healing practice.
Shawn owns small local business, College Pro Window Cleaning, but has put work on the back burner to spend time with Emily, and various fundraisers are in the works to help the newlyweds financially in their battle against cancer.
A fundraiser will be held at the Mex Pub on Aug. 17 from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. Musicians will perform and there will be a raffle for a gift basket valued at $600. Admission is $5 and all proceeds will go to Shawn and Emily. The event is listed on Facebook as ‘Rock on for Emily and Shawn.’
Also, T-shirts that read ‘With love for Emily’ and feature a lime green ribbon — which is a symbol for lymphoma — and a little green turtle, are for sale. The shirts cost $20 and can be picked up at Hitec Screen Printing/Brazen Sportswear at 479 Fourth St. in Courtenay.
Shawn plans to host a community party in Lewis Park either just before or just after the couple’s cruise at the end of the month to try to say thank-you to everyone that offered support.
“We can never repay people for what they’ve done for us, so I mean, (I’m) at a loss for words really on how I could say thank you,” he said. “I just don’t know how words can explain the thanks I have for everything that’s happened.”