Love eases cancer’s pain

2013-10-15 00:00

FOR a moment the bride felt no pain, the day- to-day battle with spinal cancer forgotten as she exchanged vows with the love of her life.

This was the scene that played out at the Highway Hospice in Sherwood last month when the bed-ridden Shannel (née Pillay, from Phoenix in Durban) held a long-postponed wedding ceremony with her husband Timothy Balliah (25).

Shannel and Balliah had registered their marriage four years ago and have a three-year-old daughter.

Shannel had always dreamed of having a proper wedding, but then injury and cancer turned the couple’s lives upside down.

Balliah said he had met Shannel at a high school prom in 2009, where initial eye contact led to a casual conversation.

“Shannel always spoke about wearing a white wedding dress and hoped one day she would be able to walk down the aisle.

“It was extremely hard to see her unable to walk or use her limbs and the staff of the hospice decided to make her wish come true,” said Balliah.

Balliah says the decision to have the wedding was tough because of advanced cancer.

Pillay had suffered a severe spinal fracture in 2010 and there were fears that she would never walk again. When doctors probed her damaged spine they found that she had cancer.

Shannel was admitted to the hospice soon after.

She was by than completely paralysed and her dreams of walking down the aisle with her daughter had been shattered.

“I wanted her to have this special day, something we could always remember.

“It is an incredibly difficult time for all of us and the wedding allowed her to think about something else for the day.”

On September 21, a gathering of family and close friends watched as the bedridden bride, resplendent in her white gown, said “I do” at the hospice.

Balliah said Shannel had undergone seven out of the recommended 10 courses of chemotherapy and radiation, but had decided to stop the treatment because of the intense pain.

“Shannel’s health is deteriorating and the cancer seems to be eating away at her quicker than we expected.

“I just hope that she can pull through for a while longer.

“We are trying to prepare ourselves because we know she can leave us at any moment but we still have hope,” Balliah said.

Balliah said like any couple they had gone through ups and downs in their relationship, but have always been madly in love.

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