A COUPLE who were both diagnosed with stage four cancer last year are looking ahead to the future - and with help from a community fundraiser they’re hoping to renew their vows next summer.
Sarah Thawley, 38, and her husband Steve, 41, started off last year in the best possible way with the birth of their son Arthur on March 20 - just three days before the first lockdown began.
But since that date it has been a difficult time for the family as Sarah was diagnosed with breast cancer in May - just months before Steve received the devastating news he had gastric cancer.
Sarah told the Chronicle: “I went into Barnsley Hospital on May 15 because I was having bad stomach pains but after a CT scan I was told that I had stage four breast cancer and it had spread to my bones and my lungs.
“I was sent home and because my mum and dad live a few doors down, they came to live with us and we formed a support bubble.
“On June 8 I went into Weston Park for blood tests but was told I had hypercalcemia and after my first chemo session I started to become really poorly - I was moved into a private room and was told that I had weeks to live.
“I came home on June 13 and the next day we had a blessing in our back garden.
“On the Wednesday we were given special permission for our wedding to take place at home in our front room.”
Miraculously in the coming weeks Sarah appeared to be improving and was told she was able to finish her treatment - which she did in October - and a CT scan showed remarkable response and her tumours have been shrinking ever since.
But just as the family were getting back into some kind of normality, Steve started to experience trouble while swallowing and after a visit to his GP he was fast-tracked for an endoscopy - on December 11 it was confirmed that he had stage four gastric cancer.
Earlier this year Steve began his treatment with his first chemotherapy session, and has two more sessions - out of six - with the last coming at the end of next month.
“He had a scan a few weeks ago and everything is shrinking which is good news and he’s only got two more sessions left,” Sarah added.
Despite the horrible year the family have faced, they’re still remaining positive moving forward - and a fundraiser has been set up by friends to try and support both Steve and Sarah.
Marina Whitwam, 43, of Birdwell, decided to start the fundraiser - which will see people take part in a half-marathon - in a bid to try and raise the spirits of the couple.
She said: “Steve is my son’s football coach and they’re both such lovely people so we wanted to do something to give them a chance to treat themselves.
“It’s all gone a bit crazy because we started it and just expected a few people but loads of people have got in touch saying they’re either going to walk or cycle it too.
“The support so far has been amazing and I’m hoping that because it’s started so well that it’ll grow even more.”
Sarah and Steve are hoping to renew their vows at some point in the near future - something that the fundraiser could help with - and she says that support they have both received has been ‘fantastic’.
“It’s been amazing how much support has been there for us and so many people want to get involved with it which is great - Steve even wants to do it on his bike if he’s fit enough,” she added.
“We’re looking forward to the future now and fingers crossed we’ll be able to have a proper wedding next summer which is definitely the big aim.”
To donate to the fundraiser - which has so far raised more than £1,700 - or to get involved, visit gofundme.com and search ‘The Thawleys’.