After six months of feeling unwell, Mark was diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in May 2019, with liver and heart complications. Putting on a brave face and remaining positive, Mark kept an open mind and fought with everything he had to bounce back from this diagnosis. With friends and family rallying behind him, Mark started his emotionally and physically draining journey to battle this disease.
Spread by a Facebook post by marriage celebrant Katrina Farr, media outlets such as Today Tonight began sharing Simmon and Mark’s courageous story. With the outpour of support for the couple, Ben Law and Rachel Altman of iDoWeddings Photography also shared the story. They assisted in gathering other businesses together who wanted to help out in any way possible. From florists to venues, the aptly titled ‘Dream Team’ of vendors rallied behind Simmon and Mark to give them both the weddings they had been dreaming of.
On Sunday, 6th October 2019, Simmon and Mark were finally married. Coincidently, it was also Mark’s last day of treatment, marking the end of one journey and the start of another. Simmon and Mark’s wedding day was a true reflection
of themselves, thanks to the generosity of the businesses involved. The day itself was untraditional – exactly how the newlyweds wanted it to be. Simmon and Mark got ready together with their family and friends before making the walk down the aisle and even had photographs taken prior to the ceremony. The newlyweds wanted to spend every single moment in each other’s company. “Dreams really do come true,” Simmon says.
Mark now has a job in inpatient services at the local hospital, wanting to give back by sitting down and talking with patients, offering them support during their prognosis and treatment. While they can’t afford a honeymoon, Simmon and Mark are determined to take each day as it comes together as husband and wife.
One hundred eighteen guests attended the special day, including the team involved; it was a way for the vendors to be a part of Simmon and Mark’s special day, just as the couple wanted. Simmon and Mark held a special thank you speech during their reception, taking time out to sing praise to the wonderful people who came together in their time of need to give them the perfect wedding. The highlight of the day for Simmon was having their nearest and dearest there to celebrate their commitment, as well as joining the families and having a sense of happiness at the end of a long and tumultuous battle.
Continuing to remain positive and vowing never to give in, Mark’s last scan revealed that he no longer needed chemotherapy and was on the long road to recovery. “As I sit and reflect on the past year and know there are no chemo sessions left to go, that we only have appointments and rebuilding Mark’s health to focus on, I realized something quite spectacular,” says Simmon. “That the many hours I sat on the shower floor hiding from the world, hiding my struggles, dealing with my moods, the hours of paperwork I have filled out, the hours of waiting around for answers, had all been worth it.”