‘I’m Not Terminally Ill’, Groom Announces at Wedding

November 8, 2017 Updated: November 8, 2017

When nurses helped him out of his wheelchair onto one knee to propose to his girlfriend, Jack Kane was certain his wedding day would be a bitter-sweet occasion.

Kane, 23, had decided to ask his girlfriend of three years to marry him, after doctors said he had only weeks to live. She said yes, but the couple, who lives in the northeast of England, thought the engagement and wedding were to be part of a process of saying goodbye.

Two weeks ago, however, Kane was given news that changed everything. Holding back his secret, he waited until the wedding reception before announcing to 130 shocked guests that he had been misdiagnosed: his illness was not terminal.

Kane, from the town of Billingham, suffered severe back pain and hypersensitivity in his legs, and in the end could not walk. Doctors had diagnosed him as having an incurable cancer of the spine, saying he had just weeks to live.

Kane, who is still in a wheelchair, decided to propose to Emma Clarke, 23, when he heard the diagnosis.

“I was always going to marry her,” he told the Northern Echo. “We’ve known each other for nearly ten years and have been together for the last three. From the day I first met her I knew I wanted to be with her.

“So I got my mum to get the ring and the nurses put me down on one knee to propose. We were married eight days later—why waste any time?”

Just three days before the wedding day, Kane was informed that he had been misdiagnosed: instead of cancer, he had a rare, but treatable neurological condition called Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO). He told his close family, but asked them to keep it a secret. The 130 guests at the hastily arranged wedding reception didn’t know anything until Kane informed them in an emotional speech.

The Telegraph reports that in a video of the speech he begins to sob as he says, “The doctors have done some further tests and they came back positive—I am not terminal.”

His just-married wife Emma Kane said, “For a moment, you could have heard a pin drop in the room of about 130 people, then it sank in and we had tears, cheers and everyone clapping. It was a moment I’ll never forget.”

“As long as I live I will never forget the atmosphere in the room when Jack said, ‘I’m not terminal.'”

“Everyone looked like they were taking seconds to register what was going on, then the room erupted into cheers and crying,” she said, according to the Daily Mail.

The wedding was held at Middlesbrough’s James Cook University Hospital on Oct. 23, where Kane is still being treated.

Mrs. Kane said that after the diagnosis of terminal cancer, they had started to get prepared to say goodbye to each other.

“We had known for a while we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together and to be told we only had weeks left was the hardest thing in the world.

“It was awful. We started ticking off a bucket list. We had planned to get married eventually but thought it would be in the distant future.”

Kane praised the staff on the hospital ward as being “like family” and remains upbeat, according to the Telegraph.

“My legs may never come back but there are people worse off than me. I won’t be beaten by something I can’t see,” he said.

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