The husband of a young bride who died from bowel cancer just weeks after her wedding day has urged people to support lifesaving research.
Angus and Victoria Hall-Hulme first met after they recognised each other from a brief “swipe right” moment on a dating site.
Until then, both had been unlucky in love and had almost given up on finding “the one”.
Mr Hall-Hulme had even begun developing a new type of dating app.
The couple did not speak to each other but, later, Mrs Hall-Hulme contacted Mr Hall-Hulme and they went on a date.
They fell in love and enjoyed a blissful wedding in Chelsea on August 4 this year.
Just four weeks later, Mrs Hall-Hulme died. She was 33.
Mrs Hall-Hulme, who had a first-class degree from Cambridge and a career in venture capital, had been diagnosed with bowel cancer just a year earlier.
She had had no inkling anything was wrong until she suffered two weeks of abdominal cramps, a little weight loss and fatigue.
In between the couple’s meeting in Hyde Park and their wedding were months of pain and heartbreak, but also the joy of falling in love.
Speaking earlier this year, exclusively to the PA news agency, Mrs Hall-Hulme said the diagnosis “was so terrifying” that her initial reaction was to push her new boyfriend away.
“Why would anyone want to go out with someone with cancer?” she said. “But Angus kept coming back, and every time I pushed him away, we would find ourselves being drawn back. He was my new best friend and so supportive.”
Surgeons removed Mrs Hall-Hulme’s tumour and she began six months of chemotherapy. However, in March this year, scans revealed the cancer had spread to her peritoneum (tissue lining the abdominal wall).
“I didn’t even know what the peritoneum was,” she said. “The only words I heard were ‘It’s not good news. I’m sorry Victoria, your cancer has spread. It’s not curable’.
“I couldn’t understand – how could that be? It totally turned my life upside down. All my plans for having children, starting an awesome new job, all the things we strive for when we assume a long life, were scuppered, just like that.”
But out of the trauma, the couple’s love shone. During the summer, when Mrs Hall-Hulme was feeling at rock bottom and was stuck in hospital, she and her partner had a late-night heart-to-heart talk.
“It was a scary time,” she said. “One night we had quite an emotional talk and I told him he had a life to lead and we knew where mine was going.
“He said he would rather spend months with me in his life than years without me in it.
“I said ‘If I ever get out of here, will you marry me?’ and he said ‘Of course’. We cried – it felt emotional and romantic. I felt that when I leave this world, I could go knowing I had been fulfilled and that my legacy would be a partnership we created, even though I want him to move on and meet someone.
“It was good to know I was worth hanging around for.”
Knowing her time was limited, Mrs Hall-Hulme organised a wedding in six weeks from her hospital bed. One friend made her dress while others helped arrange the service at St Thomas More’s Catholic Church.
Mrs Hall-Hulme said the wedding was “magical and an absolute miracle it happened at all”.
Her health continued to deteriorate and she was moved to her family’s home at West Wittering, West Sussex, and then to St Wilfred’s Hospice, Chichester, where she died surrounded by her family on September 2.
Her family are supporting the Stand Up To Cancer campaign from Cancer Research UK and Channel 4, to build on the huge fundraising efforts Mrs Hall-Hulme made before her death.
Mr Hall-Hulme, 49, said: “Victoria was a beautiful, fit young woman with a boundless enthusiasm for life.
“Cancer can affect anyone’s life, at any time, so we really have no choice other than to unite against it and help support scientists to keep making new discoveries.”
Lynn Daly, Cancer Research UK spokeswoman for London, said: “We’re asking everyone to Stand Up To Cancer and raise money that could help get new tests and treatments to those who need them most.
“If we all stand together, we can save lives.”