Dating since their teens: Lovers get married despite terminal cancer
Jake Coats and Emily Collet from Ireland met when they were just 11 years old, soon becoming inseparable best friends. By the age of 16, they had declared their love for one another and began a relationship that would last three years. As with many first relationships, they decided to separate after moving to different towns to pursue their studies. However, their love for one another never changed — though it was a long time before they admitted it.
Ten years later, Jake and Emily rekindled their romance — though in a long-distance capacity, since they were now living in different countries. They frequently visited each other and also planned to go on vacation to the Philippines in 2016. Jake had planned a romantic surprise for that trip: he would ask Emily, the one true love of his life, to marry him. However, events were to take a tragic turn.
Shortly before the trip, Emily was rushed to hospital. After various tests, doctors soon discovered the worst. The young woman had thyroid cancer and the illness had spread to other organs. Unfortunately, the cancer was already terminal by this stage and there was nothing more the doctors could do.
Upon hearing the shocking news, Jake traveled to where Emily was living so that he could be by her side. He was determined to spend as much time as he could with her. Shortly after receiving the terrible diagnosis, Emily wrote the following on Facebook:
"Turns out that the boy who's given my tummy butterflies since I was eleven wasn't lying when he wrote me this beautiful little note over a decade ago. Even with some scary health news this week I can honestly say I have never felt such pure overwhelming happiness and love or more determination to get well so that I can spend the rest of my life with the love of my life!! luckiest girl in the whole wide world!!"
Despite Emily's condition, Jake popped the question and they set the date for their wedding. Though her illness continued to worsen over time, Emily kept on smiling and lived life to the full right until the end.
Emily's positivity was also on show during their "Tandemonium" challenge: a bike ride from London to the Danish capital Copenhagen, some 1,200 miles away. The trip was intended to raise money for The Royal Marsden Hospital, where Emily was treated. Despite her illness, Emily managed to stay strong throughout the bike ride; her goal was to raise awareness so that cancer sufferers won't have to find out about the illness when it's too late.
The Tandemonium was a huge success. As well as being able to spend a lot of time together, the Irish couple managed to raise more money than they were intending to. In September 2016, they got married and had a wonderful time with their family and friends.
Unfortunately, Emily succumbed to the disease a few months later aged only 31. Despite the sadness Jake feels for having lost the love of his life, the Irishman continues to share stories about his beloved Emily and talks about how he will honor her memory by moving forward with his life in the best possible way. "Emmy was truly remarkable. Her bravery unmatched, her determination unswerving, her kindness, beauty and caring nature unparalleled. She was one in a billion," Jake wrote on Facebook.
Emily's spirit will live forever in the hearts those who loved her and the couple's donation to the Royal Marsden Hospital will help continue the fight against this terrible disease. We wish Jake all the best for the future.