or the 27-year-old mum is terminally ill with a cancer so rare it doesn’t even have a name and is racing against time to marry.Courtney planned to wed in November until last week her consultant broke the devastating news she may not live that long.Now she wants to marry decorator Billy, also 27 and the dad of her five-year-old girl Dolcie, in July and needs to raise £20,000 to pay for a big day.Tragic: Courtney Terry is trying to bring her wedding date forward to long term fiance Billy Webb
Tearful Courtney, who has been engaged since 2013, said: “It’s too late to help me now. There’s no more surgery or chemo. I know I’m going to die.“I won’t grow old with the man I love or see my girl grow up. But the one thing I can do before it’s too late is be Mrs Webb.“I waited and waited to get married as I wanted to get well first and there was always another operation or drug trial that got in the way. Now I just want to do it before it’s too late.“I look at my future and I can see where it ends. I’ll die never knowing what is wrong with me – never having a name for it.Happier times.
The couple, who fell in love as 15-year-old schoolkids, have turned to the kindness of strangers to crowdfund the wedding through website. Yesterday it had reached £13,600.
Courtney was just 19, working as a nail technician by day and partying at night, when her mum Karen, 54, took her to hospital with severe vomiting.
Doctors suspected alcohol poisoning after a night out and even a sexually transmitted disease until scans showed a 10in cancerous tumour on her left kidney.
It was as a horrific blow to the happy-go-lucky teen – and a riddle to the doctors. Samples of the tumour were sent to specialists in Europe, the US and Canada as experts desperately tried to diagnose the young patient.
But no one had seen anything like it before. Courtney said: “I was so angry and confused. Why me? I was young and healthy and I’d had no symptoms and suddenly all that had been taken away.
“It was so scary. I was lucky I had my family and Billy.”
Tragically, Courtney’s fears were realised as the cancer had already spread to her lungs.
And while she was being treated, she suffered a second blow as her brother Jordan was coincidentally struck down with cancer too.
She battled her illness at Guy’s Hospital in London while he fought a malignant melanoma at nearby St Thomas’s. Courtney said: “We were so close, hearing he was ill was just as hard as finding out about myself. The illnesses were unrelated but it was just the cruellest thing.
“Jordan wasn’t allowed to come and see me before my lung operation as he had MRSA and when he finally got out of hospital he was really poorly.”
Six months after Courtney’s operation, Jordan died, aged 22.
But rather than see his heartbreaking passing as her own death sentence, she vowed to keep going in his memory. Two weeks later she discovered she was pregnant, which gave her strength to battle on.
She added: “Doctors told me not to go through with the pregnancy – that it would be too big a strain on my body and that could make the cancer return.
“But I couldn’t bring myself not to have that baby. It felt like a miracle that I was even pregnant after being so ill.”
Courtney watched with joy as her bump grew, despite missing vital CT scans to monitor her cancer because they posed a threat to her unborn child.
She said: “For once I wasn’t thinking about being ill, I focused on something positive and finally it seemed like a part of the fairytale Billy and I had planned was going to come true.
“We’d talked since we were kids of how we’d marry and have a family and when I held Dolcie for the first time I knew I would never regret my decision.”
But Dolcie was only a month old when tests showed the cancer was back – this time in her liver. Since then Courtney’s life has been an endless cycle of surgery, chemo, radiotherapy and drugs trials.
But late last year, a consultant told her they had run out of options. “Hearing those words was just the hardest thing for us both as it meant I wasn’t going to beat this.
“I’m the only case they know of so they have nothing to go on. But hearing the fight was over was tough.
“I got really low and when I came home from the hospital I just couldn’t pick myself back up.
“There was nothing more they could do, so there was nothing to stop us from planning the wedding. And that was what we did.”
Looking at dress fabrics, venues and gifts for guests made Courtney feel better. And the £20,000 wedding she planned at the idyllic Orangery in Maidstone in Kent, 26 miles from their Barnehurst home, became something to live for and a final farewell to the ones she loves.
She said: “We’re not extravagant people but when we decided to get married we wanted to do it properly and not worry about the money. It needed to be special.” The ceremony was planned for November but now doctors believe it may be too late.
“We’ve had to bring it forward and find double the cash in half the time. I was heartbroken.
“We’ve set up a page on a website to ask people to help us. I have to stay positive and focus on getting to that total so I can give Billy and Dolcie what they deserve – happy memories of me before it’s too late.”
Courtney is finding it difficult to stay positive knowing each day she is nearer leaving her loved ones. She said: “It’s all so hard because now everything I do feels like it could be the last.
“I give Dolcie a bath and wash her hair but I find myself never wanting to stop. I could do it for ever.
“I savour every thing because whenever we go anywhere – to Legoland or to the park – I wonder if it will be the last time.
“She’s too young to understand what is wrong with me, she just knows I have ‘bad blood’ and the doctors help me. But I know all the time that she won’t have a mum growing up and it breaks my heart.
“I’ll miss her going to big school and fancying her first boy, and growing up. I have a list of things I want to give her advice on, like friends and boys and starting her periods.
“You don’t go to your dad for that stuff, you go to your mum, but I’ll not be there. That’s the hardest thing.
“I keep sitting down to write what I want to say to her but I just break down in tears. It’s too hard.
“Deep down I just want her to remember me and to remember how much I loved her. I want her to have happy memories of her mum.”