Wedding bells will be ringing this Sunday when a mother who is battling cancer gets married to “the love of her life”.
Karen Burack, of Bullhead Road, Borehamwood, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in March 2009 after months of agonising symptoms.
Her boyfriend of five months, Simon, 50, promised to stay by her side no matter what and last November he proposed to her whilst the couple holidayed in South Africa.
51-year-old Ms Burack said: “I was urinating frequently and had shooting pains down my groin, so went to the doctor. I was eventually told I had a prolapsed womb.
“But a few weeks after the operation to fix that, I felt dreadful. My stomach swelled, I could hardly breathe, was not eating and got some panic attacks.
“It was like my body was shutting down – it was a very scary time.”
The mother-of-two was diagnosed with stage four ovarian cancer, but was soon told it had spread to her lung, her diaphragm, lymph nodes, stomach and her bowel.
She has had a hysterectomy, regular chemotherapy and is still undergoing treatment for the cancer today - but she has responded “remarkably well” to treatment and the tumours are shrinking.
Ms Burack, a barber, was told to ‘live life to the fullest’ by her oncologist, so she took a trip to South Africa with Simon last November, where he proposed.
She said: “We had the most magical time in South Africa and on the last night and he proposed at a restaurant on the beach when the sun was setting.
“It was so romantic and just perfect.”
The couple met over Facebook and hit it off after Ms Burack invited him to her house for coffee.
The pair are due to get married on Sunday at St Albans Registry Office, and Ms Burack is looking forward to wearing her original 50s style wedding dress.
She added: “I am so excited about marrying Simon after everything I have been through - it is going to be the most perfect wedding day.”
Ms Burack is now making it her mission to raise awareness of ovarian cancer and its symptoms.
These include bloating, eating less and feeling fuller, and abdominal pain.
People concerned about ovarian cancer can visit www.ovacome.org.uk .