Ryan Anderson, a 26-year-old dad of three, passed away on June 10, just a few months after marrying his longtime partner and soulmate, Sheryl. Ryan and his family knew that he was ill with cancer, but no one knew just how bad it was, because the Newcastle, England, automobile factory worker refused to look at his test results before his wedding.
He wanted the day he married the love of his life to be filled with hope, and joy.
Ryan, whose second love after his family was the Newcastle Premier League football (i.e. soccer) team, first received word that he was suffering from cancer after a bout of migraine headaches in June of 2012. He treated the stubborn tumor as long as he could, and had a second operation and final round of chemotherapy last December.
And then, he wanted to marry Sheryl. So he refused to examine the test results that would have shown whether he was cancer-free, or whether the tumor had persisted.
“Ryan didn’t want to die. If he could have done anything he would have done, he just didn’t want to die,” said his older sister Paula, 28. “There wasn’t a dry eye at the wedding. We all knew how sick Ryan was but everyone had a great time.”
Shortly after he was married to Sheryl, Ryan did examine his test results. The news at that time was good. He appeared cleared of the tumor. But a new round of tests three months later revealed a far darker picture.
“I thought he was going to be OK but when we found out it had grew back it was just so hard,” said Paula. “He worked so hard to get where he was and we didn’t think the he would be able to do it again. For three months he’d had a normal life and we thought everything was OK.”
This time the diagnosis was terminal. Ryan spent the last 13 weeks of his life in hospice care where Sheryl and the three children, 11-year-old Callum and Aaron, and 3-year-old Tia, were with him every day, including when he passed away.
“Ryan was such a cheeky chappy. He’s left a huge hole in everybody’s lives,” Paula says. “My mum and Sheryl spent every day with him at the hospice and I know how hard it is for them. We are lucky to have Tia and Ryan’s memory is carried on in her.”
On Sunday, Paula and her best friend, Victoria Ross, took a 14,000-foot skydive to raise money for Marie Curie Hospice, where Ryan Anderson spent the final weeks of his life. They have raised £1,100, or about $1,900 for the center so far.