Mum-of-four marries in hospital days before dying of cancer
- Credit: Archant
The heartbroken husband of a mum-of-four who battled a rare form of cancer has revealed how they married days before she died.
Heather Bellamy asked her partner of five years to marry her and the very next day the couple said their vows in an emotional ceremony, surrounded by family, in the intensive care unit of the hospital where she used to work.
Her husband, Max Lincoln, said the former nurse, from Downham Market, "had so much fight left in her" and was convinced she could beat the acute myeloid leukaemia right until the end.
And when she died on Saturday, August 3, Mr Lincoln said her family had been touched by how much the 48-year-old clearly meant to her colleagues at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in King's Lynn, who were left in tears after hearing the news.
Lilly Young, her eldest daughter, said: "My mum was just a selfless person, I don't know who could not have loved her. She was amazing."
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Mr Lincoln had been a lifelong family friend and the couple's friendship developed over the years into a romantic relationship.
He said: "She just said the day before, 'oh we're getting married tomorrow' and I thought are we? "We did discuss it before and when she asked I did not think twice about it, that's what I wanted. I would have married her after the first few months of us being together, we were so in love.
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"I realised there was something deeper with her about five years ago when she came over to talk with me after she was going through a difficult time and I hugged her for the first time, something I will hold onto forever."
The staff at the QEH rallied around the couple, arranging the flowers and the cake for the ceremony, on Thursday, July 18.
Mr Lincoln said: "We both said we would never get married again but we began discussing it again and it felt so right.
"We were hoping Heather would get better but in the back of our minds the thought was there that she could pass away.
"Heather was so family orientated that in the last few days she reduced her morphine so she could spend time with the kids, she must have been in so much pain but that's just how she was, she would do anything for the children.
"She had so much fight left in her and she carried on battling, convinced she could beat it right until the end. Heather has really brought the family closer together, she was just so caring and strong.
"She was really hands on and would help anybody and everyone if she could, even if she didn't know them.
"She would rather us continue with our lives than come see her, as long as she knew we were happy she would be happy. That's how she was, wanting us to keep it normal and not to make a fuss over her. She was totally selfless.
"There's been a lot of tears along this road but also a lot of laughter, we would joke around with each other when we all get together, we would make quite a noise at the hospital."
The family knew the outlook of Ms Bellamy, who kept her surname following the marriage, was less positive after they received test results which came back as 100pc leukaemia in her blood.
Miss Young, who is 24 and works in pathology at the QEH, said: "I would visit mum whenever I could and on my breaks at the hospital, which was nice.
"She would make sure we were always happy and out doing things. Every summer she would take us to theme parks. The only thing she would do for herself was go to a book club every month.
"I'm not sure how I'll feel returning back to work because she's always been there, but because she's spent most of her time at the hospital and not at home we still sort of expect to see her but I'm sure it'll be made official to us after the funeral."
In the last few days spent together Ms Bellamy and her family, including her other three children, Alice, Alfie and Sam, spoke of funeral arrangements.
Mr Lincoln said: "She made it clear she wants no black at the funeral, it will be a real celebration of her life. It's going to be an unconventional and fun service.
"She did not want a hearse and if we did get one it was not to be black, thanks to A J Coggles the funeral director we have a VW camper van that will take Heather around Downham Market passing by her favourite places.
"What Heather has done is highlight leukaemia and made us all aware of it being a cancer. Her legacy will be in the way she's pulled the community together, raised awareness of leukaemia and shown us how strong she was."
The funeral will take place on Wednesday, August 14, at 11.30am, at the cemetery on Rouse's Lane in Downham Market.