An Australian mother, who discovered she had cancer just a week after her soulmate proposed on a cruise, has married after strangers rallied to pay for the emotional ceremony.
Mikaila Brisbane, 22, from NSW, exchanged vows with fiancé Harley, 24, after their planned wedding – booked for September last year – had to be cancelled as Mikaila underwent surgery to remove a tumour.
The young mother – who has a daughter Indie, three, and son Reef, two – discovered a lump in her buttock during a cruise in February 2017.
‘I went on a cruise where my amazing now husband Harley proposed to me! Over the cruise I noticed that a lump I had found previously was growing rapidly,’ Mikaila explained on a Facebook page she has set up to share her progress.
‘As soon as we returned I decided to go to the hospital where they went ahead and did a ultrasound, about a hour after the ultrasound tech rang me and said can you go to your doctor for results ASAP!
‘I went to the doctor to be told I have a high blood flow tumour (in my butt cheek haha) the doctor said they think it could be a sarcoma but I will have to go for a biopsy to make sure.’
The tumour was confirmed as an Alveolar soft part sarcoma – a cancer so rare that only 20 people get it in Australia per year.
‘It's a extremely difficult cancer to have for starters nobody really knows of it but it also doesn't respond to chemo and surgery is the best thing,’ Mikaila explained.
‘I'm already stage 4 and the prognosis is extremely bad!’
The couple’s fairytale wedding was made possible after a wedding photographer – Beth Fernley – went to their home for a consultation and discovered what Mikaila was going through.
‘It started with Mik and Harvey enquiring with me for wedding photography after being referred by my beautiful friend Tanya at Cheboom Bridal & Formal Boutique,’ Beth explained.
‘I went to their house for a consult. While there Mik was fiddling with her hair and asked if I minded if she take off her wig.
‘She then told me she had stage 4 cancer and was pretty sick with it. ‘The fact that Mik is only 22 and they have 2 beautiful babies really upset me but also made me angry.
‘This was the second time they were planning their wedding as the first one had to be postponed so Mik could have surgery for her stupid cancer,’ Beth continued.
‘As I was sitting there listening my mind was doing backflips; looking at this beautiful young couple who so desperately wanted this wedding but also had to battle daily with this disease.
‘I asked Mik, ‘if you could have your dream wedding, what would you want?’
‘So I had the idea to see if I could ask for help, and see if we could put together a dream wedding for Mikaila and Harley.’
After putting a call out on her page asking for help, Beth was overwhelmed with support.
‘The day was made by the love, kindness and generosity of the incredible people that donated their time, their services and themselves,’ she said.
‘Even though it wasn't my wedding, I want to personally thank every single person who contributed. Who shared, who commented, anything.’
Now Beth wants to help the couple go on the honeymoon of their dreams – and is raising money via a GoFundMe page.
As for Mikaila, she is determined to make the most of the time she has left.
She started a treatment which made her stable for around six months, but recently scans showed her condition had deteriorated.
‘I would just like to say a massive thank you to everybody that has shared my story and mine and Harley's wedding,’ she wrote.
‘We feel very blessed.’
To donate to the couple's honeymoon click here.
This article originally appeared on New Idea.