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Coronavirus survivor goes from saying final ‘goodbye’ to saying ‘I do’ thanks to St Oswald's

09 June, 2020

Coronavirus survivor goes from saying final ‘goodbye’ to saying ‘I do’ thanks to St Oswald's

When Cancer patient Jay Dixon, from West Denton was left fighting for his life after contracting what doctors believed to be Coronavirus he never thought he’d see his wedding day.  Three weeks later close friends and family of the loving couple came together as the pair tied the knot at a special wedding ceremony organised by our wonderful staff.

Jay and now wife, Vicci Morrison-Dixon planned their big day in just 48 hours with the support of our Social Workers,  Inpatient Unit Team, Facilities Team, other Hospice staff and generous local businesses.

Jay, who was a patient on our Inpatient Ward for over two weeks has had Cancer for a year and recently contracted what doctors believed to be Coronavirus.  The virus made Jay so unwell Vicci was twice asked to say her goodbye’s to Jay but he miraculously pulled through and his dying wish was made possible thanks to our teams.

Vicci said:

The last three weeks have been a total roller-coaster of emotions.  Coronavirus made Jay extremely poorly, causing double pneumonia and kidney failure and we honestly thought we were going to lose him.  While Jay was in hospital he said that he wanted to get married before he died, but due to his delirium and Coronavirus it just wasn’t possible.  I honestly thought Jay wouldn’t survive the virus but three weeks to the day from the first time I said goodbye I got to say ‘I do’.

Jay said:

Looking back I can’t quite believe what has happened over the last few weeks. I’ve gone from thinking I was going to die to celebrating one of the best days of my life. We were told that getting married wasn’t going to be possible but thanks to our solicitor the Registrar agreed to carry out the wedding. It was the first wedding that they had done since February so we’re extremely thankful.

Before getting discharged from hospital and coming to St Oswald’s I wasn’t really aware of what a hospice did so being an inpatient has really opened my eyes.  All of the staff are so friendly and helpful and I’ll be forever grateful to them for what they have done for us.The hospice itself is so relaxed and peaceful.

Vicci was thrilled when she received the call from the Registrar to say the wedding could go ahead on Thursday 28th May but knew it would be a challenge to organise in such a tight time frame. The couple reached out to our Social Work team who were only too happy to help.

Vicci explains:

As soon as I told the team at the Hospice that the Registrar was able to marry us they were all so excited and wanted to help in any way they could. They basically arranged everything for us including a two tier cake, flowers and photographer within 48 hours!  Staff and volunteers were even planting until the last minute to make the garden look nice for us, we were totally overwhelmed.

Jay continues:

Due to the pandemic the ceremony was very small and intimate.  We had ten guests all together including our two children, Bailie (age 13) and Nate (age 5), our parents, my brother, who was also my Best Man, my sister-in-law and Vicci’s best friend who was her Maid of Honour. We could see other patients peeking out of their bedroom windows which was lovely.

Amanda Wait Social Worker at St Oswald’s said:

I arrived in work last Tuesday morning to find out the exciting news that we had a wedding booked for that Thursday.  In that time, a full team effort from the Hospice ensured that we were able to make Jay and Vicci’s day as special as we could under the current circumstances. A wedding day has to be one to remember and with creative thinking and help from others we were able to organise something special for them both.

Not only did this have a lovely outcome for Jay and Vicci but gave the staff such a welcome boost when arranging this and being able to witness their precious moment.

Our role as a hospice is vitally important at times like this when life seems more difficult and demonstrates what can be achieved when people come together for others.

Jay said:

Amanda from the Social Work team at the Hospice did so much for us, she’s a real Wonder Woman. The support she gave us was beyond belief and I honestly think the day turned out better than if we’d had time to arrange it ourselves. The weather was perfect and the staff even arranged for Vicci to stay overnight in my room with me.

They decorated it with petals, flowers and fairy lights which was so lovely and a total surprise. Vicci made her dress herself as she didn’t have time to order one but it was just perfect.

I’m still on cloud nine and feel like my recovery from Covid-19 and being able to get married is a total miracle.  I’m now working with the teams at the Hospice to hopefully get home soon.  I know I still have a long road ahead and my chemo is currently on hold because of having the virus and multiple organ failure but I’ll fight cancer for as long as I can.  My aim is to be able to go on a scooter ride with Nate and the Dr has said that that’s hopefully not too far off! 

Vicci ended:

Over the past year we’ve learnt to live with cancer and everything it brings.  However, nothing could have prepared us for Coronavirus. Seeing Jay suffering so much was horrific. We’ve been told that the virus has shortened his life so it has changed our outlook.  We are now grateful for every minute together and won’t ever take anything for granted. 

Huge thanks to the following local businesses and people who made Jay and Vicci’s day possible by donating their services and items. Good Enough to Eat made a two tier cake in 24 hours, Quinns Cakes donated cupcakes, Flowers by Dee provided a bouquet of flowers for the bride and groom and table centre pieces, Boo-K lent the Hospice some flowers and a candelabra and The Balloon Fairy supplied blossom trees and a Mr & Mrs sign for the table. Keith Saint and Tracey Watson both took photographs for the couple to remember their special day and lots of other local people gave decorations to make the room look wedding ready.

As a charity, we rely on the generosity of local people and need the ongoing and generous support of our community during this crisis. If after reading Jay and Vicci's story, you’d like to help safeguard the Hospice financially and enable us to continue to offer our vital services you can donate via our COVID-19 Response Appeal online at www.stoswaldsuk.org/urgent-appeal or by calling 0191 246 9123.