What started off with cold and flu-like symptoms soon led to the death of Michael Hertz’s beloved wife, Saima, just four months after she walked down the aisle, Metro reported.
The couple went on their first date in 2015 and from the get-go Michael, who’s from the UK, was head over heels in love with her. A year later he popped the question and they tied the knot in August 2018.
The newlyweds settled into marital bliss but a few months later tragedy struck. Saima (30) started feeling ill and visited the doctor with flu symptoms. The GP then prescribed her paracetamol and bed rest, according to Mirror.
A day later Saima, a nursery manager, seemed okay and went to work. But she collapsed and was rushed to the emergency room.
“She collapsed and started to have seizures. At that point, I knew it was something really bad,” says Michael, who works in his family’s clothing business.
“I told her that I loved her and begged her to stay awake – but then her eyes rolled back and she stopped responding. I just fell to my knees, crying in the middle of the hospital.”
Doctors did a scan which diagnosed Saima with encephalitis – a deadly condition that causes inflammation on the brain, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Saima didn’t make it and Michael decided to lay his wife to rest in her wedding dress to make her send-off in December last year, extra special.
“She was everything to me,” says the 29-year-old widower.
“She always said she wanted to wear her wedding dress again – so she was buried in it. And I asked that all the ushers from our wedding walk her coffin to her grave.”
Following the loss of his wife, Michael has since worked tirelessly to create awareness on the brain condition and even launched Cycle for Saima – a charity bike ride from Manchester to London.
All proceeds from the charity go to the Encephalitis Society, which dedicates itself to developing more research on the condition and treatment of the disease, The Sun reported.
“On the day of her funeral, I told Saima I’d make her proud,” Michael says.
“And if one good thing can come out of this horrendous situation, it’s to raise awareness and help other families.”