Laura and Steven Monks had planned to save for more than three years for their dream wedding and a new home. The couple from Hyde, England, both 35 years old, were engaged in 2013. But suddenly all their dreams fell apart when Steve was diagnosed with stage 3 bowel and liver cancer, The Telegraph reports.
"We didn't want anything grand and big," Laura said. "We just wanted a home to call our own. We wanted to do that before we got married but everything changed when we got Steven's diagnosis."
Steve was originally diagnosed in October and started treatment right away. He had his bowel removed and began chemotherapy. Then, in April, the couple got heartbreaking news. Steve's cancer was terminal.
They decided to get married right away. They had saved some money, but it wasn't enough. Then, a nurse told them about a charity that helps couples in situations like theirs.
"She explained that the charity asks businesses and members of the public to donate things such as wedding cakes, name cards, dresses and makeup to couples like us who want to get married quickly," Laura told The Telegraph.
That charity was Gift of a Wedding. According to the organization's website, Gift of a Wedding "provides free weddings to people with a terminal illness, regardless of age, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation."
The couple applied on their site and the charity soon put out a notice on Facebook. Donations immediately poured in. They received decorations, a DJ, food, a videographer, photographer, hair/makeup, a wedding cake, a singer and string quartet, wedding car, a magician, and so much more, all free of charge.
"We couldn't believe how kind strangers were being," Laura said.
The couple had their dream wedding Friday in Manchester. Their daughter Lydia served as the flower girl. All their friends and family were there, cheering the couple on.
"Steven is currently on palliative care," Laura said. "We don't know what the future holds, but the kindness of strangers made our day completely unforgettable."