Cancer survivor and bride-to-be prepares for first ever Marathon wedding on the Cutty Sark
34 year old Jackie Scully and fiancé Duncan Sloan, both from London, will become the first couple to get married on the Cutty Sark on the morning of the London Marathon. Following the official ceremony at 7.30am on Sunday 23 April, 2017, the newlyweds, along with the father of the bride and other members of the wedding party, will head to the start line to run the Virgin London Marathon.
Jackie was 32 when she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer, just days following Duncan’s proposal on Christmas Day 2013. Their thoughts turned from guest lists and venues, to fertility preservation and mastectomies. Jackie had already been through a lot, having learnt to walk again following a metal plate fitted in her hip, but she chose to run during cancer treatment.
Jackie explains: “I wanted to show my body that it can take a lot of things - forcing me to learn to walk again in my 20s and having a mastectomy in my 30s - but that it couldn’t define me. I chose running because I knew it would be hard. I chose running because I needed to find a reason to get out of bed and feel the sun on my face. I chose running because I wanted to feel alive at a time when my body had other ideas.”
She continues: “With my nurse mum as carer, Duncan could be my running partner (by which I mean running in the same races miles ahead of me). It kept us going when circumstances could have so easily ripped us apart. Running changed the course of my days and, in doing so, changed my life.”
During this difficult time, Jackie turned to Willow – the only national charity working with seriously ill 16 to 40 year olds to fulfil uplifting and unforgettable Special Days.
Jackie says: “I was so thrilled to hear that there was an organisation set up in recognition of the fact that quality of life is, in many ways, as important as life-saving treatment (we all need something to look forward to). After all, the next chapter has got to be one worth fighting for. I jumped at the chance of being able to escape the conveyor belt of hospital appointments and waiting rooms for just one day and do something that put our relationship centre stage once more. That’s why I applied for a trip on the Orient Express. It was something that had been on the wish list, but life had managed to get in the way.”
This is why Jackie is dedicating her special day to Willow, by running the London Marathon and raising funds to help other young people coping with a life threatening illness to have a Willow Special Day.
Jackie says: “Our wedding isn’t just a celebration of love and life. It’s a chance for us to thank the people who helped us find our way back to happiness. Cancer can take a lot of things, but it doesn't have to take your smile. I want to offer a message of hope to all those waking up to face serious illness. Thanks to Willow, thousands of people, just like me, can find a way back to their smile.”
Their honeymoon will be a trek along the Great Wall of China, in aid of Breast Cancer Care. Jackie explains: “Every day someone is diagnosed with a serious illness and charities like Willow and Breast Cancer Care are proof that you can go further than you ever thought possible with the right people by your side. This is why we have chosen our wedding day and honeymoon to give something back.”
Professional ice skater, Dancing on Ice star, costume-designer and Willow ambassador, Frankie Seaman has designed and made the bride’s dress. Frankie says: “I’ve been designing dresses since I was ten, but this was a unique challenge. I love the fancy dress element of the London Marathon, but it was important to me that Jackie’s outfit didn’t make her look like the purple dinosaurs, Elvises or pantomime horses. This isn’t a gimmick, it’s her actual wedding day and I wanted her to look like a bride.”
Jackie’s mum and bridesmaids haven’t been let off the hook - they all ran a 10K for her hen do in February. Jackie and Duncan and the running wedding party hope to raise £15k. To sponsor them go to: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/charitywedding
Notes to Editor:
Jackie, Duncan and Eamonn Scully (Jackie’s father) are available for interviews and further images are available, please contact:
Willow press office
Jenny.firstname.lastname@example.org 01707 259 777 ext 848
Lynda.email@example.com 07968 595 928
To date Willow has provided more than 13,500 Special Days for people living with cancer, cystic fibrosis, motor neurone disease, muscular dystrophy and Huntington’s, amongst other conditions.
Willow was founded in 1999 by former Arsenal goalkeeper and TV presenter, Bob Wilson and his wife, Megs, as a lasting memorial to their daughter, Anna, who died of cancer aged just 31.
The Charity receives no government or lottery funding and is totally reliant on the generosity of individuals, companies and trusts to fund its work.
For more information about Willow visit www.willowfoundation.org.uk or telephone 01707 259777.
Press release distributed by Pressat on behalf of Willow Foundation, on Tuesday 28 March, 2017. For more information subscribe and follow https://pressat.co.uk/