Bride-to-be asks for donations rather than wedding presents to fund life-saving cancer treatment

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  • For most future brides, deciding what to ask for wedding gifts, whether it’s homeware or honeymoon contributions, is one of the more fun aspects of planning a wedding.

    But one inspiring bride-to-be is asking for donations, rather than presents, for her special day to help raise money for life-saving cancer treatment.

    Emma Houlston, 31, has a rare form of ovarian cancer, which is aggressive and inoperable. Her only hope is to undergo pioneering treatment called immunotherapy, which is not funded by the NHS and costs £114,000 a year.

    To help raise money for the treatment that could save her life, Emma and her future husband Matt Lees have asked guests to donate money rather than sending presents.

    Image: GoFundMe/Emma’s Last Chance to Beat Cancer

    Speaking in The Sun, she said: ‘We’ve organised the wedding in a month and it has been very rushed but Matt and I just can’t wait to be married.

    ‘People were asking us what we wanted as gifts.

    ‘We don’t need anything – apart from money for the treatment.

    ‘If we do run out of money – and I don’t know when that would be – we don’t know what will happen.

    While the staggering cost is daunting, Emma explained on her GoFundMe page: ‘The only other option is giving up and dying, I’m determined to find a way to keep myself alive’.

    Image: GoFundMe/Emma’s Last Chance to Beat Cancer

    In 2014, Emma noticed some fat round her middle and feeling constantly tired. But by the time of her 30th birthday she said: ‘my life had been turned upside down’.

    After having a 17cm tumour removed from her ovary, she said ‘not long after this came the absolute worst moment of my life’. Emma was diagnosed with ‘Small Cell Carcinoma of The Ovary, Hypercalcemic Type’, a rare and aggressive form of ovarian cancer.

    Her first set of treatment seemed successful and she was cancer free when the chemotherapy finished in March 2015.

    Image: GoFundMe/Emma’s Last Chance to Beat Cancer

    However, it then returned, this time inoperable. She said: ‘It’s getting harder to be optimistic this time. The dreams that me and my fiancé had are slipping away from us: I don’t think we’ll ever be able to have that baby now. It’s sad, but right now the priority is to concentrate on staying alive.’

    Donations have already reached £162,830 in just 12 days, with Emma adding that any extra money will be split between the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and Ovarian cancer research initiatives.