Friday, January 23, 2015

Bride treated to a fairy-tale wedding in Edmonton dies of cancer

On the day she got married last August, Megan Wolfe wore a beaded gown with a train that seemed to stretch across the Prairies, and grasped her partner’s hand.

Reciting her vows quietly, she choked back tears over words she realized would come true too soon: “until death do us part.”

Diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer in March, the sweet young woman whose story touched so many died Monday in a palliative care facility in Saskatoon. She was 28, and leaves behind a heartbroken spouse, five children, and a host of grieving friends and family members.

“She was my best friend in the whole world,” said her husband, Josh Melnyk.

“We worked together, and did everything together. Basically, there wasn’t anything about her I didn’t love.”

Inseparable since meeting by chance in a doctor’s office waiting room nearly four years ago, the couple had twin boys who just turned three, and three other children from previous relationships.

“When I think of her, I think of how great a mother of the bride dress she was, and about her kindness,” said Josh’s cousin, Shantell Scragg, said. “She never said a bad word about anybody. She was happy with her life and always smiling.

“She wouldn’t have changed a thing.”

Treated to a fairy tale wedding by friends, generous strangers and merchants in Edmonton who were moved by her story, Wolfe had been hospitalized since the couple returned from their honeymoon — a short trip to Jasper — a week after the ceremony. They had planned to move from Saskatoon to Edmonton so she could seek alternative treatments, but were unable.

“Honestly, I believed she (fought her cancer) and stayed healthy for the wedding,” said Scragg, who arranged the nuptials with resources garnered by a crowdsourcing firm. “I knew there was a possibility she would die, but in the back of my mind I always thought she might beat it.”

Plagued by abdominal pains, Wolfe was found to have stomach cancer early last year, underwent a round of chemotherapy that didn’t work, then had surgery to remove the tumour. During the operation, her doctor found the malignancy had spread and sewed her back up, saying nothing more could be done to help her.

She later underwent surgery a second time and had one more round of chemotherapy in an attempt to prolong her life. She spent her last month in the palliative care unit at St. Paul’s Hospital in Saskatoon.

“I have never seen anybody go through so much and still have a smile on their face,” said Megan’s cousin, Riana Wolfe. Riana visited Megan almost daily until only recently, and saw her briefly on Sunday night, hours before she died. “No matter how horrible her day was, she was still able to put a smile on her face.”

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