30-year-old, Marries herself at the Hospice

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Female in a bed wearing a pink dress and headscarf

Leanne Smith, aged 30, has been on a personal journey of discovery and self-love for “a good few years”.

Leanne, originally from Aberdeen in Scotland, shared that before she was unwell, she had been in support recovery with Women’s Aid, following domestic violence relationships. She explained that she had started healing by asking for help and talking to others who had been through similar experiences, along with getting involved in arts and crafts.

Leanne was diagnosed with Breast Cancer after funding a lump in 2021. Following chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgeries and hormone therapy she was told the devastating news, in December 2023, that she had secondary cancer. Leanne was admitted to Arthur Rank Hospice Charity in March 2024.

When Leanne arrived at the Inpatient Unit at Arthur Rank Hospice Charity, she mentioned to the staff that she wanted to ‘honour herself and acknowledge her own self-worth as an important part of acceptance and peace with all this.’ She heard about ‘Sologamy’ (the act of marrying herself) when she first saw You Tuber, Estee Lalonde, take part in her own ceremony. After hearing Leanne’s wishes the Clinical Team quickly started to make this a reality for her.

Two days before the ceremony, Leanne found ‘the perfect poem, I am complete simply because I am perfect’ by Rupi Kaur, on You Tube and wrote her own vows:

“I promise to love myself and trust my intuition with self-worth and acceptance. I am whole. Falling in love with my life itself, unconditional love for myself, knowing my worth. I have the key within me as I got the pearl and the pearl is me.”

She chose ‘Valium’ by Lisa Mitchell as the song that she wanted to be played at the Ceremony – the one she always wanted for her Wedding Day. Leanne shared that she had wanted to meet someone and get married and have her own children but realised that this was not a reality now.

On 22 March 2024, Health Care Assistants (and Bridesmaids) Linda and Rachel, helped Leanne into one of her favourite pink summer dresses, with matching head scarf, and wheeled her bed to the beautifully decorated Sanctuary. The bifold doors were opened wide to let the sunshine and garden in.

As Celebrant, Alex Collis, conducted the ceremony, ‘Rainbow’, the multi-coloured Teddy that had been gifted to Leanne, from the support group at Women’s Aid, sat at the end of her bed, as one of the important guests.

A hand wearing a ring and rainbow teddy at the end of a bed

Leanne’s sister, Lisa Smith had bought her a moonstone ring, with Leanne’s instructions, from Nomad’s opposite Kings Parade in Cambridge, which was placed on Leanne’s finger after she read out her vows.

Female in bed wearing a pink dress and headscarf

Leanne said:

“After the ceremony I was so happy that I went ahead and married myself. I felt complete and whole, more accepting and proud of myself”.

Lisa said:

“It was so well organised – every last detail was thought of, and Leanne was buzzing all day. This was something she had talked about long before she was unwell and to fulfil her dream really lifted her mood.”

When Leanne was asked about her experience at the Hospice she said:

“I cannot put it into words. I have everything I need and more.”

Her sister, Lisa Smith, who was Maid of Honour at Leanne’s Sologamy, visits every day and added:

“I had no experience of a Hospice before but I would give it 100 out of 10. When I leave Leanne at the Hospice, to go back to my apartment, I think, it is like Leanne has 15 sisters there, who I know will care for her when I am not there – they are angels.”

Leanne is no stranger to Palliative Care, as she studied this as a Music Therapist long before she was diagnosed and has volunteered at a Children’s Hospice. She is also a song writer and has been working with Music Therapist, Helen Loth, at the Hospice to get her songs written. She is hoping these will be shared and will help others in similar situations to her own.

The Charity would like to thank Leanne for sharing her personal story with us.

 ‘Outstanding’ services are provided free of charge to patients and their families at the Charity. Our aim being to provide the highest quality care, helping people to make every moment count. You can find out more about how we are funded here: arhc.org.uk/how-we-are-funded.