Terminally ill husband’s heartbreaking ‘last first dance’ with wife of 35 years

A terminally ill cancer patient and his wife of 35 years have renewed their vows in a heartwarming ceremony at home and they even managed a beautiful and tearful last ‘first dance’ together.

68-year-old Dave Hare and his wife Helen Hare, 54, first met in 1986 but Helen says she made Dave wait to get married until 1999.

The pair live together in Hedon, Hull, where Helen is now taking time off work as a nurse at Hull Royal hospital to care for Dave, who has an untreatable cancer, reports Hull Live.

With the support of the cancer charity Macmillan and a network of friends both new and old, the pair were able to express their love for one another on a special day.

Helen said: “We’ve been together for 35 years, since 1986, but we didn’t get married until 1999. I made him wait a bit like you should.”

Helen has always worked as a nurse, first as a specialist for patients with disabilities and learning difficulties before returning more recently to general nursing at Hull Royal and Castle Hill Hospital.

Dave worked in shipping for the majority of his early career before moving on to work in Hull Prison as a member of support staff.

He gave up work due to his declining health while Helen has had to step away from her duties to care for Dave in his final few months.

The pair decided they wanted to renew the wedding vows and did just that in a ceremony on Friday, October 22.

Helen said: “We wanted to renew our vows to each other, with Dave having the terminal cancer we wanted to have a day with the most important people in our lives nearby.

“It was everything that we could have wanted from the day, the reverend was organised through Macmillan and is someone that we know well and has been supporting us in recent months.

“If I could, I would do it over and over again because it was perfect. It was just what we wanted.”

Helen in the dress loaned to her for the big day by a friend
Helen in the dress loaned to her for the big day by a friend

Dave had his first bout of cancer around 22 years and now has three types of the illness attacking his body.

In his current condition it has been agreed that Dave is too weak to receive treatment and is on palliative end of life care at home.

Helen said that being a nurse she had found it difficult to accept help from others in caring for Dave as it had just been the two of them for a long time.

For the special day itself the pair kept the ceremony small but had support from a wide range of friends including one who loaned Helen a dress for the day.

Helen said: “I have to say the NHS have been amazing and have supported me in needing to step away from work to care for Dave.

“They’ve been really good and Macmillan have offered us so much support too helping us put together one more special day together.

Dave and Helen were supported by Macmillan and their friends, new and old
Dave and Helen were supported by Macmillan and their friends, new and old

“I’ve welcomed more friends into my life recently too and we wouldn’t have made it this far without the help and care that they have shown towards us.

“We’re looking back and I have only happy memories, that is what I’m holding on to, and this extra special day has given us one more together.”

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