FAMILY and friends of a 34-year-old father of three are rallying to organise his wedding after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
Paul Kenny was told just two weeks ago that his bowel cancer had spread to his lungs and liver and there was nothing doctors could do to save his life.
He and partner Jessica Porter, who he has been with for six years, had always planned to get married but had not been able to afford it.
But following the devastating diagnosis, the couple are set to tie the knot on September 16 at St Mary’s Church in Wombwell. They will also have their three children, Isaac, five, Ivy, three, and Joshua eight months, Christened.
Paul, of Queen’s Gardens, Wombwell, insists ‘he is not going anywhere soon’.
“It was a bit of a shock, my head was going at about 300 miles per hour,” he said.
“I know what’s going on, and I understand how bad it is. But I’m that sort of person. There is no point in dwelling or screaming from the rooftop. I just have to get on with it for my children and my girlfriend.
“I feel fine in myself, it’s just the tiredness more than anything. I start chemotherapy today, and I know that is going to take it out of me but I’ve been told what to expect, and about the side effects.
“We’re just trying to keep things as normal as possible for the kids. They are too young to understand.”
Paul was told in January he had bowel cancer and shadows on his lungs. He had five days of radiotherapy, but scans revealed the shadows were cancerous, and the disease had spread to his liver.
Fighting back tears, Jessica said: “After they told us it was not curable, I would just look at him and burst out crying. One day he’s not going to be here for me to look at.
“He has said we are going to make memory boxes for the kids and write them letters for when they turn 18, take lots of photographs and just make as many memories as we can.
“I’m scared Joshua is not going to remember him because he is so young. We’ve just got to do what we can.”
Family and friends have put together the perfect day by rounding up donations, and offers including a cake, flowers, photographers, wedding car, venue decor and a sweet cart.
Paul said his sister Vicky and school friend Emma Day, who runs a wedding company, had done much of the preparations, but Jessica still doesn’t have a wedding dress.
He added: “The response has been amazing, and not just in terms of people giving money.
“We’re moving house and have had offers of help with that. If there’s anything people can do to help us, they’re willing to do it. It started off as friends, and then friends of friends and now it’s people we’ve never even met.
“Someone messaged me asking if he could pay for our wedding rings. He had been through a similar thing with his wife who had passed away shortly after they got married. I didn’t know what to say.
“I’m looking forward to the wedding. It’s something we have talked about, and now feels like the right time to do it. I may still be on treatment, but I’ve been told I can have a break if I feel like it’s getting too much.”
Paul will start chemotherapy today at Weston Park to try and prevent the cancer spreading further.
He said: “All the doctors at Barnsley and Weston Park have been amazing.
“If we can get the word out, more people will get themselves checked out.
“I just thought I’d got dodgy guts and it would pass, and passed it off. But it got to the point where things weren’t as they should be and I needed to go to the doctor to get it sorted out.”
Emma Day, owner of All Trimmed Up, said: “I don’t want anything. I lost my dad five weeks before my wedding and I was devastated. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner. So to be able to help them out, if Paul is well enough by September, I will have done what I set out to do.”
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