NI woman diagnosed with Leukaemia weeks after dream wedding

Michael and Jessica Clarke pictured on their wedding day three months ago (pic by Stephen Latimer)
Michael and Jessica Clarke pictured on their wedding day three months ago (pic by Stephen Latimer)

A Northern Ireland woman who was diagnosed with Leukaemia just weeks after her dream wedding and honeymoon is to host a tea party for charity.

MORE: Ulster woman born with rare condition to host charity event

Londonderry couple Jessica and Michael Clarke got married three months ago, had an amazing honeymoon in Mauritius and quickly settled into married life.

Five weeks later, the couple were thrilled to find out they were expecting their first child. However, their elation turned to devastation after Jessica had her first appointment with the midwife.

Michael told the Derry Journal that the midwife noticed his wife, who was exhausted and unable to shake off a chest infection, was very pale.

“The midwife did an extra blood test and hours later we got a phone call to say that Jessica’s iron was very low and she needed to go hospital.

“We saw a consultant haematologist who informed us there was something abnormal in the cells.”

Further tests confirmed that Jessica had Acute Myeloid Leukaemia and she was referred to the City Hospital in Belfast.

Michael said the diagnosis was ‘devastating.’

“We were told we needed to put Jessica first as both wouldn’t survive. This was the hardest decision ever.”

Jessica started chemotherapy almost immediately and her consultant was confident this will ‘do it’s job.’

“She will have four cycyles of chemo, each one lasting around six weeks and she has just finished her first cycle. She is battling through it like the warrior she is,” Michael added.

The couple decided to hold a charity event to raise money for Leukaemia and Lymphoma NI in recognition of the care Jessica has received over the last few weeks, something which they will be ‘forever grateful’ for.

“The medical staff have been absolutely amazing from the start and have gone above and beyond. There have been so many positives so far.

“We also hope to raise money for research into AML so that nobody else has to go through this.

“Had it not have been for the knowledge and expertise of the doctors, nurses and scientists at both Altnagelvin and Belfast City Hospitals we could have been looking at a very different story,” Michael maintained.

The couple admit that this may not have been the start to married life they were expecting but “if we can get through this, we can get through anything,” Michael concluded.

The ‘Big Red Tea Party’ takes place at Gwyn’s Cafe and Pavillion, Brooke Park at 3pm on Monday, September 17. Everyone is welcome to enjoy tea, cakes and raffles.

Alternatively you can donate at www.justgiving.com/michael-Clarke45