It was a fairytale wedding.
When Emma Rice, 32, was given just months to live after being diagnosed with terminal Stage 4 ovarian cancer, her UK community threw her the perfect wedding to her childhood sweetheart.
She married Dava Rice, 34, on April 29 as local businesses offered a free venue, cake, photography, and other amenities.
“The wedding day lived up to my expectations and went beyond what I thought was possible,” Emma told SWNS. “I felt like a princess on the day.”
The couple met through mutual friends — Emma was 16 and Dava was 17.
They have been together ever since and have three kids: David Jn, 11, Keeley-Mae, 10, and Ariela, 6.
“It was the best time of my life,” Dava said of the nuptials.
“My heart hasn’t moved past that day — I’m still living it now,” he continued. “She finally got the day she deserved.”
Emma began experiencing symptoms in February 2021.
She noticed that she was bleeding heavily from her vagina, and she was also in pain.
At first, doctors surmised her contraceptive implant had moved into the wrong place because she was “too young” for it to be anything else.
She then sought out a specialist, who, upon further testing, discovered she had cancer.
“The moment the specialist looked at her cervix, she said she had never seen one that looked like that that wasn’t cancer,” Dava recalled.
Doctors diagnosed Emma with Stage 3 cervical cancer, with her first dose of chemotherapy reportedly damaging her liver. Five weeks of radiotherapy followed.
Despite it all, the two were hopeful about her prognosis — but when she went for a PET scan in January, their world was “shattered” upon hearing the cancer had spread.
“We asked how long she had, and they said about a year — our whole world came crashing down,” Dava admitted.
He explained that they had always dreamed of getting married, but certain things got in the way, like finances.
“But I was determined to marry her while I still could,” Dava explained.
So, Emma’s best friend, Louise Bell, 29, stepped in and organized a fairytale wedding.
She reached out to local businesses, and many of them donated their services for free, including Action Wedding Videos and Clarity Wedding Photography.
Emma’s family also helped, with her grandmother, Mari Clarke, paying for the rings.
“I’m overwhelmed and proud to be part of a community that comes together to help those in need,” Emma told SWNS.
The cake, food and photo booth were supplied at no cost, along with the venue, which was provided by the owners of The Saddle Club, Izzy and Paul Swift.
“We couldn’t have done it all with Louise’s help — she was incredible, and we’re so grateful,” Dava said.
“Emma did amazingly on the day even though she was tired,” Dava said.
“It’s been very tough on the children to see their mom getting sick, but they’ve been so strong,” he continued. “Emma and I are so proud of them, and we’re making the most of our time left together.”
Emma has gone into hospice care at Clatterbridge Hospital in Liverpool, where her new husband and family visit her often.
She is determined to share her story and spread awareness about ovarian cancer and its symptoms.
“I have suffered physically in ways that I never knew possible — I have had my life and family taken away from me,” she said.
“But if I can raise awareness to save at least one woman from this unnecessarily destroying them and those around them, then I am happy to be in this fight.”