Crowdfunder for terminally ill mum to fulfil dream of marrying partner

Sally Ashmore of Thetford who has terminal cancer, is surrounded by her family. Sally is planning a

Sally Ashmore with her partner Neil Bragger and their children Madison Bragger, Oliver Ashmore-Hill and Connie Bragger. - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

A community has come together to help a terminally ill mum fulfil her "biggest dream" of marrying her partner of 20 years.

Sally Ashmore, 43, from Thetford, first went to hospital in July 2018 with bowel problems but only discovered in February the following year that she had bowel cancer.

She was told at the time it was a 'curable outcome' and underwent chemotherapy and radiotherapy, but was later told the cancer had spread to her lungs and that she was terminal, with only two to three years to live.

Sally Ashmore has been with her partner Neil Bragger for almost 20 years.

Sally Ashmore has been with her partner Neil Bragger for almost 20 years. - Credit: Sally Ashmore

It was news that she described as like having the "air sucked out of the room".

In January this year, she was told the cancer had spread to her bones and a doctor told the mum-of-three they would be surprised if she lived until Christmas.

Ms Ashmore said: "I can't describe how awful chemo is, and what it physically is doing to my body but also what I see it doing to my friends and family."

Sally Ashmore hopes to create as many happy memories as possible with her family.

Sally Ashmore hopes to create as many happy memories as possible with her family. - Credit: Sally Ashmore

She and her family are determined to make the most of the time they have left and Ms Ashmore, who has been with her partner Neil for almost 20 years, hopes they can tie the knot to create "happy memories" for him and their children, Connie, 18, Madison, 16, and Oliver, 13.

The couple are also expecting their first grandchild at the end of the month.

Ms Ashmore said: "We've been wanting to get married, we were in our 20s when we met, getting married was always one of those things we'll do another day, not ever realising what was coming around the corner for us.

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"For us now, another day is happening.

Sally Ashmore of Thetford who has terminal cancer, is surrounded by her family. Sally is planning a

Sally Ashmore of Thetford who has terminal cancer with her partner Neil Bragger. - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

"We would like to be married sooner than plan it for a year and a half later because who knows, I don't know how quickly my cancer at the end will be."

The 43-year-old, who works as a cashier at Sainsbury's, said she had previously dreamt of having her wedding in a rustic red brick barn, but following the diagnosis just wants her nearest and dearest there to share the day with.

"We'll make the best of what we've got," she added.

"I don't take anything for granted anymore. I'm doing my best to live everyday.

"Now we want one happy memory for the children and Neil to look back on, and for my colleagues and family as well.

"I've always wanted to get married but then coronavirus stopped practically everything, and the girls at work said 'no, you can't give up on this'."

Her colleagues have set up a JustGiving page to help raise funds for a wedding, and Ms Ashmore said it was because of their support that she is able to continue working at the Thetford supermarket.

Staff at Sainsbury's in Thetford have set up a JustGiving page to help raise funds to fulfil Ms Ashmore's dream.

Staff at Sainsbury's in Thetford have set up a JustGiving page to help raise funds to fulfil Ms Ashmore's dream of marrying her partner Neil Bragger. - Credit: Margaret Waites

Margaret Waites, who is among those at the store behind the fundraiser, said it would "mean the world" to them if they could help fulfil Ms Ashmore's wish.

She added: "She comes to work everyday and you don't hear a moan from her.

"She is just an amazing person. We have to do as much as we can.

"We don't want it to be a long process, it needs to happen in the next couple of months."

A Crowdfunder page had previously been set up in 2019 to help Ms Ashmore complete a bucket list with her family.

It said she had to do the "hardest thing as a parent", which was sit her children down and tell them she did not have much time left.

It added: "My time is running out and having three beautiful children and an amazing supportive partner, I want to make as many memories for them and for me as possible.

"One of my biggest dreams is to marry my partner."

To donate to the JustGiving page visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sally-neil

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