“He was gone just 20 days after we were married” | Lianne’s Story

Lianne and Mark were planning their wedding when they received the terrible news: Mark’s cancer had returned.

Even more devastating, Mark was given just two weeks to live – news that prompted the couple’s decision to marry immediately in hospital.

Now, not two years after Mark’s passing, Lianne is completing her first marathon at the 2024 adidas Manchester Marathon. Having taken up running to help with her grief, Lianne is looking forward to completing the distance – an achievement she knows Mark would be proud of.

Read Lianne’s story below.

Mark and I met in 2017 in the police force. As a new officer, I noticed immediately how easy going the conversations between us were. He was an amazing police officer – able to diffuse difficult situations with words and kindness. I knew very early on that I had feelings for him. A smiling couple cutting a cake at their engagement party.

There was a big age gap (24 years) but we started spend more time together. One day after having dinner together, I was waiting for a taxi home and Mark leaned in to kiss me. “You took your time” I said, to his great relief!

From that point on we were together. It felt like home to be with Mark. Friends and family were of course shocked by the age gap, but when they saw how happy I was, they welcomed him.

Mark asked me to marry him on my birthday in June 2021. We were planning our wedding when Mark got the devastating news: the cancer he had previously been cleared from, had returned.

The doctors gave him just two weeks to live. The shock of the news was unbearable, but Mark had one last wish: for us to be married. The ward staff at the hospital arranged this for us the very next day. It was a day of mixed emotions, and despite the pain he was in, Mark was smiling and laughing with our close family and friends. He even managed to wear his suit and looked so handsome.

After a brave fight, Mark was gone 20 days after we were married. After the funeral, I spent long days lying in bed, swallowed up in grief. Months passed, but then I remembered something that had said a week before he died: “remember to go for a run – it always makes you feel better”.

I remember how hard that first run was, but also the feeling of something new: hope. Mark had always been such a determined person; even after his diagnosis he didn’t wallow but rather tried to make the best of each day. I knew that this is what I had to do. In 2023, I set myself the target of running 1000 miles – and achieved it. Now, many smiles, tears and running shoes later, I am taking on my first marathon at the 2024 adidas Manchester Marathon.

Training is going well, although of course there are good days and bad days. I have learnt not to fight or hide from grief; if it hurts, let it. I now also know that the pain doesn’t get smaller – rather, you get better at carrying it.

I am both nervous and excited about undertaking my first marathon. I love the feel of Manchester – it’s a big city but, there’s a friendly and passionate spirit that radiates through. I’ve also heard that the atmosphere on the course is great. My two biggest fans – my parents – will be rooting for me on the day.

After all I’ve been through, I know that in a way Mark will be with me on the day of the marathon. I will imagine him cheering me on and feeling his embrace at the end. He will be proud of me, just as I was proud to call him my husband.

A bride kissing her terminally ill husband / groom in a wheelchair.

Lianne and Mark on their wedding day at Furness General Hospital in June 2022.