Ashlea Hanson married the love of her life last week, this week she will bury him.
Her new husband, Daniel Paton, was suffering from terminal melanoma and tragically passed away on Sunday night.
His dying wish was to marry his sweetheart. So the hospital where he was staying did something wonderful: they made it happen, in just 18 hours. One of the nurses loaned Ashlea her wedding gown and shoes, the hospital cafe made a wedding cake, a staff member brought in a video camera to film the ceremony, a beautician who was another nurse's friend did the bride's hair and make-up, the in-house florist provided the bouquet and flowers, while catering staff organised the food.
‘‘Whatever you did for a wedding, they did. There was not one stone unturned. It was absolutely amazing,’’ a heartbroken Cathy reveals. ‘‘It was just lovely. I can’t fault this hospital. We thought we were just coming to a bedside wedding and they had the chapel. The chapel was full ... It was the most beautiful, moving thing.’’
‘‘There was not a dry eye in the place,’’ adds Ashlea’s mother Cathy. "Ashlea, who has been so stressed, after the wedding, I saw her that night and I said to her, ‘You look so much more relaxed’ and she just said, ‘I gave him his wish’.’’
Daniel, an abattoir worker from Wagga Wagga, NSW, was admitted to the Calvary Hospital in Canberra a week earlier when his condition deteriorated and was not expected to survive the week.
He was diagnosed with melanoma last July. His mother, Helen Paton, says the melanoma was detected when a mole on his arm was bumped a few times.
Helen said he'd never spent much time in the sun. He went on clinical trials in January which "worked for a little while and kept it at bay but it started growing again".
‘‘He was never a sunbaker," she insists. "Never been a boy to run around without a shirt on or anything like that. The doctor just said, ‘It was the luck of the draw’.’’
The couple met last November before he became ill and formed an instant connection.
‘‘It’s just a shame because they’re the perfect couple. It’s like they found each other and it was meant to be,’’ Cathy said. ‘‘They’re soul mates but it’s just been cut short. But not really because if it’s meant to be, he’ll be still with her, regardless.’’
Our thoughts are with Ashlea and the couple's families at the sad time.