A terminally ill mum has travelled 11,000 miles across the globe from New Zealand to Britain so she can renew her wedding vows in her home town before she dies.
Nicola Tatupu, 38, decided to share the special ceremony with family and friends after returning home for what could be the final time.
The mum-of-three emigrated to Dunedin, in New Zealand when she was 24 where she met Uaina Tatupu, 41, while both working as prison officers.
She was diagnosed with breast cancer while living abroad in May 2015 and had only just married when doctors revealed the shattering news.
Nicola was later told the cancer was incurable after it spread to her lymph nodes, spine and hip.
Determined to see her family one last time, Nicola decided to fly back home and will renew her vows at a service in Radcliffe-on-Trent, Notts., on Saturday (10/6).
After touching down in the UK on Wednesday (31/5) following a 33 hour flight the couple have already seen Nicola’s mum Denise Watson, 58, her dad Paul Martin, 59.
Brothers Wayne Martin, 42, and Gareth Martin, 35, stepdaughter Linette, 10, and stepsisters Megan Thompson, 26, and Danielle Porter, 27, will also be present at the ceremony.
Today Nicola, who potentially has just 18 months left to live, said: “It was always going to be tough, moving out to New Zealand.
“My ex-husband and I went over as he got offered a job as a prison warden out there,and a lot of family were based there too.
“It was a really struggle at first, and unfortunately the marriage broke down.
“When I met Uaina I knew straight away that he was the man for me, and we married only two years or so after we got together.
“We had planned to go to Samoa on our honeymoon, but we had to have a rethink after the diagnosis.
“It was just devastating news, when they told me I had breast cancer, but you have to plough through it.
“My mentality has always been that you have to live every single day, and not worry about what the future holds.
“Terminal cancer does not mean the end. People think that is it, you are done, but nowadays it does not mean that.
“It is just another life change to adapt to. You don’t have to sit back and wait to die. It opens your eyes to how fortunate you are and to enjoy every moment you get.
“It was after the diagnosis that I decided I wanted to come back and see my family again.
“It had been so many years without seeing my brothers, and I wanted to introduce Uaina to my family properly.
“We don’t want to take the limelight away from our wedding in New Zealand but there was something missing, which was my family.
“I know it is renewing our vows but it is a massive thing.
“It is the start of another chapter in our life and it will be the icing on the cake to have my family there.
“It’s an opportunity to get some pictures of the whole family together while we still can, and I know that we’ll cherish the day and that my family will be able to keep the memories for many years to come.”
Dad Paul, who manages a support team at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “She has had all the treatment available and she has been told it is now just palliative care to keep her comfortable.
“We were not sure if she would be up for the journey back home and we talked with her medical team and they said ‘if you are going to do it you should do it by the summer otherwise she will not be fit enough’.
“We had arranged a family get together for her visit home but just on the off chance I rang the vicar at St Michael’s in Farnsfield and said ‘would there be an opportunity for Nicola to renew her vows in front of the UK family?’ and they said yes.
“The wedding is about bringing people together and it’s about introducing Uaina into the family.
“We want to offer our really warm gratitude. The silver lining is we have not had an event like this as a family.
“This is probably Nicola’s last trip home.
“She would never say this, but I know that one of the main motivations for Nicola to have the service is the fact that she’ll never see her daughters marry.
“Something like that is incredibly difficult for a mother to have to deal with.
“Her daughters are going to act as flower girls, so they’ll be wearing the special white dresses and will be an instrumental part of the service.
“It’s going to be a very special and emotional day for all of us.”
Leave a Reply