Many people dream of getting married, but for one terminally ill girl, it really was her dying wish.
Five-year-old Eileidh Paterson from Forres, Scotland, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare childhood cancer that develops in nerve tissues, at the age of two.
Under 100 children in the UK are affected each year according to the NHS, and the cause is unknown. Neuroblastoma makes up about eight percent of the total number of children’s cancers, according to Macmillan cancer support.
When Eileidh and her family discovered her cancer was terminal, she set about writing a list of everything she wanted to do.
“When we were told in February that any treatment now would just prolong her life and that ultimately she wouldn’t survive, we decided to make a bucket list of things she would love to do and make as many memories as possible,” Eileidh’s mother, Gail Paterson, told CBS News.
A trip to Disneyland Paris, painting her bedroom pink and visiting the zoo all feature, but perhaps the sweetest of all was Eileidh’s top wish: to marry her best friend, six-year-old Harrison Grier.
And he was just as keen: “Harrison has said for over a year that he was going to marry her,” Paterson said. “He even ‘borrowed’ one of his mum’s rings to give to her.”
“The two of them just have this magical bond,” Harrison’s mother Stephanie Grier said. “Harrison has always said that he loves her and that he wanted to marry her.”
The ceremony took place on June 18 at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre, and was organised in just a month by Zara Grant, the managing editor of children’s entertainment company, Love Rara.
Eileidh was walked into the room by her older brother, Callum, to the sound of Disney’s When You Wish Upon a Star.
The couple met at the end of the aisle and were declared “best friends forever,” surrounded by friends, family, princesses and superheroes.
Instead of rings, Eileidh and Harrison exchanged St Christopher necklaces to signify the journey they’d been on.
“When I saw that this was on her list, I had to find a way to make it happen,” Grant told Inside Edition. “It was amazing to see the community come together so quickly to donate their time and services to the event.”
At the ceremony, Grant read a fairy tale of Eileidh’s battle, written by her mother. In the story, Eileidh was a princess who would “stop at nothing to survive,” despite the “evil beast” (her cancer) trying to defeat her.
“It took her hair but it couldn’t take her smile,” Paterson wrote.
Around 30 people attended the wedding and more than 200 joined them to celebrate at the party.
“These are going to be lasting memories,” Paterson said.
“I cried a little bit, but managed to stop myself,” Grier added. “It was such a beautiful day.”
“Anything we can do to make her life that little bit easier, comfier and most importantly magical, then we owe that to her,” Paterson said. “She most certainly deserves it. Eileidh is the bravest little girl in the world and is definitely a superhero.”