Terminally-ill man marries sweetheart, who suffers from the same condition, in dream wedding after lung transplant fails
24-year-old transplant patient Darren Easton is currently receiving end-of-life care because both his donor lungs failed after the operation
A terminally ill man in the UK married his sweetheart in the hospital after he was told by doctors that he only had a few weeks to live. The 24-year-old transplant patient, Darren Easton, is currently receiving end-of-life care because both his donor lungs failed the transplant. Darren, who suffers from cystic fibrosis tied the knot with Lauren Pope, his sweetheart who suffers from the same condition. There were 60 guests at the intimate ceremony at Harefield Hospital in London and there was not a dry eye at the ceremony.
The Mirror reported that the couple was determined to get married after they first met at a funeral of a fellow sufferer of cystic fibrosis in 2015. Darren and Lauren exchanged their vows in front of their family, friends, and medical staff at the hospital.
Darren told the publication after the wedding: "When I knew I was going to die, we were going to do all we could to get married. More than anything I want Lauren to be happy – and to know even after I'm gone, I'll always be with her." Lauren, who is also 24 and a hairdresser, said: "I know the vows say till death do us part, but it's not for us. Our love goes beyond that and will last long after both of us have gone."
A family friend, 46-year-old Antoinette Holden, helped the couple's magical day come true when she set up a crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe which raised £3,000 of the £1,500 goal in only 14 days to pay for the ceremony. Darren proposed to Lauren in March of 2016 only minutes after he regained consciousness following his double lung transplant.
They were planning to save up money for their wedding but when doctors told Darren on November 27 that his donor lungs failed because of an infection and that he would have only days to live, the couple knew they had to do something fast.
Darren's best man, 27-year-old Wayne Holmes, is the one who helped him into his wedding suit and also stayed the night in his hospital room on a camp bed. Even though mechanic Darren had to take a break in between the wedding ceremony and the reception, he gathered enough strength to stand in his room from his wheelchair to have the first dance with his wife, Lauren, to Lukas Graham's 'Love Someone'.
The couple was both diagnosed with the condition at birth and their life expectancy was not expected to exceed 40. When they were introduced to each other in March 2015 at the funeral of their mutual friend and fellow sufferer Ben Fidelia, they realized that they had a lot in common. The pair met at the hospital only a few weeks later and soon became close because they stayed in neighboring rooms. This closeness worried the medical staff as cystic fibrosis patients are not supposed to mix because of cross-infection risks.
Lauren said that the nurses in the hospital used to "tell them off". She also said that she had to explain to the nurses why they should stay together after the couple sang 'We shall not be moved'. They were even spotted by one doctor sneaking off to the bar together.
In early January 2016, Darren's condition got worse and he was immediately put on the transplant list. By March this year, he was given just 24 hours to live after suffering a cardiac arrest. Donor lungs were finally found and they were transplanted in an eight-hour operation at the Royal Brampton.
After he woke up from his surgery, Darren from Fulham moved in with Lauren in her apartment in Watford a month after getting the new lungs. He said: "Living together was amazing. We had an unusual relationship, though. Most couples argue over what to watch on TV. We argued about fridge space for our medicines." But their joy was short-lived when Darren's health deteriorated and he was admitted to Harefield last month.
Lauren's sisters — 32-year-old Anne-Marie, and 13-year-old Abigail, along with her sister-in-law, 26-year-old Chelsea — were her bridesmaids. Darren's parents, 52-year-old Lisa and Darren Senior, were also present at the ceremony along with Lauren's mother, 49-year-old Samantha, her husband Phil, and Lauren's father, 62-year-old Tony.
The reception was held at a private home nearby, Black Jack's Mill, which was donated for the wedding by the owners. Darren concluded: "It was the greatest day ever. My only concern now is Lauren will be stable. I have put away money for her as well as a box of my things to keep. I want her to be happy."