Sam Boyer

Sam Boyer is a police reporter for the NZ Herald.

Terminally ill mum's wedding dream comes true

Friends, family unite to fulfil cancer patient's dying wish.

Vivian Fittall with daughter Sophie.
Vivian Fittall with daughter Sophie.

A 20-year-old mother with incurable cancer will be granted one of her dying wishes tomorrow when she celebrates an eleventh-hour wedding.

Vivian Fittall will leave intensive hospital care for the day to celebrate her marriage to partner Jack Waller at Red Beach, on the Hibiscus Coast, north of Auckland - thanks to the generosity of family, friends and the local community.

Last month Ms Fittall discovered a hereditary condition she carried had degenerated into aggressive liver, rectal, lung and possibly lymph node cancer. She may have only a short time left to live.

In a post on a fundraising page for her "bucket list", Ms Fittall said: "This week my man Jack proposed to me ... and I want to marry him."

Vivian Fittall with partner Jack Waller.
Vivian Fittall with partner Jack Waller.

With "humbling" generosity from family, friends and the community, the young couple have rushed to tie the knot.

"Only a month ago she was diagnosed with terminal cancer ... and it has spread all through her body," family friend Kelly de Rooy said. "The prognosis is pretty grim.

"Her boyfriend proposed to her a few days ago and they've had to make the wedding this Saturday because they don't have time to wait."

Local support for Ms Fittall's cause had been amazing, Ms de Rooy said.

Support had also come from further afield, Ms Fittall's father, Yahn, said on Facebook this week.

"Things have escalated quite quickly ... the speed at which this devastating disease has spread is mindblowing. We really had no idea a month ago. Life has never been easy, but this one has really floored me.

"My daughter Vivian is very very sick. However on the positive side, her man Jack proposed to her last week and the wedding is this Saturday.

"The Hibiscus Coast community and friends from all over Auckland and New Zealand have really pulled together to help us get a wedding together. There has also been some fabulous people helping the family."

Almost everything for a magical wedding day had been provided at short notice, so the family could focus their energy and money on medical and associated costs.

A wedding dress, a suit for the groom, wedding and reception venues were among the many items donated for the couple's wedding. A helicopter had also been offered.

The owner of Suits on Broadway in Newmarket, David Eggleton, gave Mr Waller a suit, shirt and tie.

Although he didn't know the couple, he said, their story touched him.

"I just said to him, enjoy what you get in terms of time. But it doesn't sound like they've got a lot."

A donation page set up for Ms Fittall's cause, and for the couple's 9-month-old daughter, Sophie, was up to $21,000 last night.

The page features a note from Ms Fittall in which she says her cancer is incurable.

"I love my little girl Sophie and wanted to see her grow up but now that isn't likely," she says.

"My fundraising is for my 'bucket list' [for] Sophie's future, including schooling, my medical and natural therapy costs, a wedding and, if well enough, a honeymoon."

Other ventures had also been organised, including a garage sale and online fundraisers.

Sir Peter Leitch donated a double pass to last weekend's Rugby League Nines, which sold for $310.

Tomorrow's wedding would depend on his daughter's health on the day, her father posted.

"Vivian was told by her doctors that any wedding needed to happen soon, so they chose Saturday. Now we are all praying that Vivian will stay well enough for the service ...

"But she's going to make a beautiful bride, and Jack will make an awesome son."

To make a donation, go to http://www.givealittle.co.nz/cause/VivianandSophie.

- NZ Herald

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