Macmillan and NHS Forth Valley organise wedding to make Grangemouth mum's last few weeks happy

A mum with terminal cancer got her dying wish to become a Mrs after an NHS Forth Valley team organised her wedding in a few days.

By Kirsty Paterson, Local Democracy Reporter
Thursday, 31st March 2022, 6:33 pm

Fiona McKenzie, from Grangemouth, died in July 2020 aged 54. But before her death, she bravely shared the story of how the team from Macmillan’s One-to-One service helped make her big day come true.

After being told that she only had weeks to live, Fiona was determined not to waste a moment. A short film presented to the Forth Valley NHS Board meeting this week showed her experience.

In the video, Fiona describes her wedding to David as the “best day” of her life and says all she wanted to do “was leave this earth as Mrs McKenzie.”

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Fiona and David McKenzie on their wedding day arranged with the help of Macmillan Cancer and NHS Forth Valley

When she contacted Macmillan, she realised that there was only one thing that really mattered to her – she wanted to marry her long-term partner, David.

She asked the One-to-One manager Jane Niblo if she could help her get a special licence and the the answer was: ‘of course’.

In the video, Fiona says: “I mentioned it to her on Thursday, the 16th of April and we got married on Sunday, the 19th.”

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Fiona and David McKenzie sign the register after their wedding

Debbie Wilson, a Macmillan healthcare support worker, helped Fiona and her daughter Danielle with their hair and make-up.

Marrying in the height of the pandemic, Fiona and David were joined by Danielle on one side of the room and Fiona’s Auntie Sandra on the other side, with registrar Fiona Mitchell in the middle.

In the video, it is clear just how much the occasion meant to Fiona.

She said: “It was just perfect. It couldn’t have meant any more than it did – it was so special. And even thought it was just us four and nobody else that didn’t matter – I was just an emotional wreck. It was the best day of my life.”

The newlyweds were touched when the neighbours, including a piper, gathered in the street to wave and several cards were put through their door.

Fiona added: “It doesn’t matter what else is going on now – it just doesn’t, I’m so content because I got to marry David.

“Really, all I wanted to do was leave this earth as Mrs McKenzie – I don’t want to be anybody else.”

Fiona’s story features in the short video that highlights the work of Macmillan’s One to One team in NHS Forth Valley, which offers person-centred support for people affected by cancer.

Fiona had been promised that the video would be shown at Forth Valley NHS Board and at its meeting on Tuesday, Professor Angela Wallace said she was delighted to finally be able to do that.

Professor Wallace said she hoped it was clear that this had been a “team effort” that included the staff in Falkirk Registry Office.

She said: “The Macmillan One-to-One uses a holistic needs assessment, so it focuses on what matters to people as well as making sure they get the care they need.

“Jane and the team are a tiny team and they do incredible things.”

More recently, the work of the Macmillan Healthcare Support Workers at home was recognised by two grateful families of loved ones, who each sent cheques for £1000.

One woman said her cheque was to thank all the girls who helped look after her husband, adding that “the care and attention he received from each and every one of them was outstanding”.

The other donation came from a woman and her daughter, who said that the healthcare support workers “felt like part of the family.”

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