Being told you will not live to see your baby grow up is a nightmare scenario for a parent.
But that was the reality 31-year-old Keri Dewsbury had to face when doctors diagnosed her with terminal liver cancer.
Thoughts of growing old with her fiance Rich Azzopardi, or seeing her 16-month-old daughter Myla enjoy her first day at school, were suddenly dashed.
She had to start thinking months, not years, ahead.
But Keri, from Waterthorpe, is an optimist, and decided to approach her situation with a positive attitude. She came up with a bucket list of 20 things to achieve in the time she has left – including marrying Rich, to whom she has been engaged for four years.
Little did Keri know that her friends and family had already decided to arrange her dream wedding – and raise all the money to pay for it.
“They started organising it three weeks ago,” said Keri, who grew up in Mosborough. “They told me last week – it was the most amazing shock and surprise.”
Keri, a recruitment consultant, only started to notice a change in her health in August. She was tired, wasn’t eating and was vomiting regularly.
She first thought she was pregnant, and doctors suggested it could be related to anxiety or depression.
It was only when she collapsed shortly after returning from a holiday that the true cause was revealed.
High levels of calcium suggested pancreatitis, and a scan revealed the news no-one wants to hear – it was cancer.
“They found a 15cm tumour on my liver,” said Keri. “It looked benign so no-one was that worried – it was just one of those things.”
The plan was to remove the tumour, along with 80 per cent of Keri’s liver. But further tests then revealed two smaller tumours in the 20 per cent that would have been left behind – and these were inoperable.
The case is so unusual that it will be covered in a medical journal.
“My only hope is chemotherapy,” said Keri. “I’m not going to be cured.”
Keri’s first thought was of her daughter Myla.
“The first question I asked was will I get to see her grow up. And they said no.”
At 16 months old, Myla is ‘blissfully happy’ and unaware of her mother’s illness. But others have felt the impact of the news.
“Rich is devastated,” said Keri. “He took it a bit worse than me. But he loves me and he’s going to be the one left with Myla.”
Keri and Rich, who has two children from a previous relationship, will be married at Mosborough Hall next March 9. Friends and family are planning a charity ball on January 28 to raise money for the event, so they can make it as special as possible.
“Rich’s stepkids will be part of the wedding, which will be amazing,” said Keri. “I will have all my loved ones with me.
“People have been so amazing. We have got such an amazing set of family and friends.”
Keri’s brother Josh Annerson has moved his own wedding forward a year, and changed the venue from Cyprus to England, so his sister can be there.
And while Myla’s memories of the wedding may be vague, Keri plans to take as many family photos and videos as she can in the time she has left, so her daughter will always know who her mother is.
“I’m planning things to create memories with Myla, like take her to the zoo,” said Keri.
“I want to buy her 16th, 18th and 21st birthday presents. She won’t remember much of it but she will have the photos and videos.”
If you would like to donate and help Keri achieve her bucket list, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/jim-stevens.