Bride who asked wedding guests to fund her cancer treatment marries in London

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Anna Pollitt
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A bride who asked her wedding guests to help fund her cancer treatment in lieu of a traditional wedding gift has married in London.

Emma Houlston, 31, from Balham, south west London, has a rare and aggressive form of ovarian cancer that requires costly immunotherapy treatment not available on the NHS.

Following her diagnosis in 2014, the art director and her partner Matt Lees brought forward their wedding and instead of a gift list they asked family and friends for cash towards the £114,000 annual costs for her "last chance" treatment.

The pair had originally planned for their big day to be in the country, but Houlston's condition meant she needed to be near The Royal Marsden Hospital as possible in case her condition deteriorated. 

She was having blood transfusions the night before they married at Chelsea's Old Town Hall registry office on Saturday.

Thanks to the generosity of their loved ones and the kindness of strangers who were moved by Houlston's story, her GoFundMe page has now hit more than £241,000 - just £9,000 shy of her target.

The costs we face for this treatment are terrifying but when the only other option is giving up and dying, I'm determined to find a way to keep myself alive.

-Emma Houlston

Houlston and her new husband married in front of around 40 guests and were joined by another 50 at their reception in Chelsea pub The Orange.

"It was a lovely day but I'm very tired and was very tired yesterday," she told the BBC"It was quite a big day to slot into everything although we were very lucky with the rain."

"The wedding yesterday was a struggle but the hospital did their very best and I had a few blood transfusions beforehand," she said, adding that staff at the Royal Marsden had been "wonderful."

Houlston will now begin radiotherapy and immunotherapy treatment. To donate, visit Emma's Last Stand.

Images: Emma Houlston, Matt Lees


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Anna Pollitt

Anna is a freelance writer and editor who’s been making her dime from online since 2007. She’s a regular at, ITV News and Emerald Street and moonlights as a copywriter and digital content consultant.