When Connor Leeders boarded a plane from New Zealand to Canada, he never expected that the skiing adventure of a lifetime would end in a tragic diagnosis.

Two years ago the 25-year-old from Whangaparaoa was having the time of his life, making his way across awe-inspiring ski runs and falling in love with an Australian woman named Pheobe.

But when Connor - who lost his dad at 5 and his mum just before he headed overseas - learned he had stage four melanoma, his Canadian adventures met an abrupt end.

Returning home to Auckland for surgeries and treatments, Connor was eventually introduced to palliative care wish-givers, Race 4 Life Trust.


When the trust told Connor it could help him make a "special wish" a reality, he chose marrying the love of his life, Pheobe.

Deciding on the Riverhead Tavern in West Auckland, Aucklanders banded together to bring the young couple's wish to life, gifting them flowers, stylists, dressmakers and a photographer.

At the weekend, dressed in a sharp grey suit, Connor walked hand in hand down the aisle with his bride.

And yesterday Connor and Phoebe landed in Queenstown for their honeymoon, also arranged by Race 4 Life Trust.

Pictures of the newlyweds have been shared on the trust's Facebook page with the caption: "This is a beautiful story of love and kindness. In our work, we are truly honoured to witness the very best of humanity."

Connor tells the Herald he is relishing the memories of his wedding and the special days that have followed: "[The] honeymoon and the wedding has been incredible, easily the best days of my life."

The couple was able to share the special day with friends and family. Photo / Race 4 Life Trust
The couple was able to share the special day with friends and family. Photo / Race 4 Life Trust

He also shared that his fight is not over and acknowledges certain factors will determine how much longer he has left.

"I will be returning back to Brisbane to continue my immunotherapy. My head/brain will play the biggest role in how long I live."

On December 8, he shared an update with his Instagram followers and promised to "keep grinding".

"Another infection has meant another surgery, meaning they removed my plate, meaning I have that gap in my skull again, meaning I'm getting another fashionable helmet," he wrote.

"Ain't no way I'm walking down the aisle with it on though.

"More importantly my last PET scan was good so it's kind of like two steps forward one step back which is how it's been for a while.

"Progress is progress and I'll keep grinding."

While his own melanoma developed internally, in his lymph nodes, Connor told the Herald he wants to encourage everyone to get their skin checked, especially young people.

He said through the tragic events he has faced in his own life, his support systems and mental strength have seen him through.

"Last thing would be preaching mental strength. I also lost my mother before I left for Canada and my father when I was 5. With a great support network of friends and family you can achieve great things. It's not easy but you can do it."