Fit and healthy Jack Kane, 23, was left devastated when he began to suffer from back pain and was told by medics he had a deadly tumour on his spine.
The account manager, from Billingham, on Teesside, decided to propose to his girlfriend of three years Emma, also 23, in a race against time to get married before he died.
However, just three days before the wedding, a doctor at James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, told Jack that he wasn’t terminally ill after all and was actually suffering from a rare yet treatable neurological condition called Neuromyelitis Optica (NMO).
Jack, who was afraid of jinxing the good news, waited until the wedding, on 23 October, to announce to 130 guests “I’m not terminal”.
Emma, who is mum to Lola, four, said: “We got prepared to to say goodbye to each other and were coming to terms with the fact he wasn’t going to be around
any more. It was bizarre.
“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. When we were told Jack was going to die we thought ‘let’s just go for it’ and planned the wedding in eight days.
“When we found out that Jack wasn’t terminal it was a bittersweet emotion. We had always prayed that a miracle might happen, but when we were told his condition was no longer terminal we didn’t want to get our hopes up too much.
“As it sank it that it was NMO we were both so happy. NMO can cause sight loss or might mean he will be in a wheelchair for a long time, so we are trying to focus on remembering each other’s faces - but none of that matters so long as he is here.”
Jack originally went to the doctor’s suffering from back and leg pain in August
but tests proved inconclusive.
He was admitted into the North Tees hospital when an MRI scan appeared to reveal he had a tumour on his upper spine.
He was transferred to the James Cook Hospital where on Friday 13 October Jack and Emma were given the devastating news that the cancer was terminal and that he had just weeks left.
However, just eight days later, on October 20, medics told Jack that they had made a mistake and he was suffering from the little known condition NMO, which causes inflammation of the spine and optic nerve.
He is now undergoing extreme rehabilitation to strengthen his legs and it is hoped he will be back home in a month.
The couple had a small wedding with family and friends at the James Cook before going on to a reception at the Synthonia Suites in Billingham, where Jack
revealed the astonishing news.
Emma said: “As long as I live I will never forget the atmosphere in the room when Jack said ‘I’m not terminal’. You could hear a pin drop. Everyone looked like they were taking seconds to register what was going on then the room erupted into cheers and crying.
“Jack decided to tell everyone at the wedding because some of his family live and work away. We’d previously delivered the news he was terminally ill by making individual phone calls.
“We thought that it would be better to share this good news face-to-face with everyone.”
Jack added: “We realised that we had to squeeze a life-time’s worth of happiness into one month. Ever since I met Emma I knew that I was going to marry her, so when I was told I was dying it was a no-brainer.
“The doctor told me that I had just weeks to live but I was determined to last a few months at least. It was really hard because I wanted to make sure that Emma, Lola and my family were going to be okay.
“When I found out that I was not terminal my first thought was, ‘Well what is it then’? It took me so long to digest the news that I wasn’t dying. I had prepared myself for the worst.
“It wasn’t until a few days later that it really hit me. I told my direct family before the wedding and with each person I told I felt better. During my speech at the reception the room just exploded when I made the announcement.
“Since NMO is so rare and so little is known about it there will still be a long road before I can start my new life - but a few months in hospital is nothing compared to certain death.”