Saturday, October 06, 2007

Hannah Wickham .... Funeral to be treated as a Wedding


This is sad; courageous, brave and beautiful. And, I can't even imagine what the parents and husband are going through . . . and, it's beautiful that everyone knows that love lives on and death is not the end.

Australian swimming legend Tracey Wickham will farewell her teenage daughter Hannah who died of cancer, just hours after she married her "soul mate".

The funeral service for Hannah, 19, will be held at 2pm (AEST) Sunday in the chapel of All Hallows School in Brisbane where she was a student until two years ago.

Hannah, who died on Tuesday, was to marry 20-year-old Tom O'Driscoll, whom she met in hospital while he too was being treated for cancer, on the Sunshine Coast later this month.
Both went into remission, but the cancer returned for Hannah, who was diagnosed with sarcoma, a rare form of cancer which attacks the body's tissue.

When it became clear Hannah would not make it through Monday night, a priest was called to Brisbane's Wesley Hospital and the two married in front of 20 close friends and family.
Tracey Wickham, dual swimming world champion and former holder of the 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle world records, said she took comfort her daughter had her dying wish.
The funeral would be treated as the wedding her daughter wanted so much.

"And other than walking back down the aisle as Mr and Mrs O'Driscoll, we'll be carrying her in her wedding dress to her resting place and I think she'll be wanting to know that the wedding will still go ahead, it's just that she'll be there in spirit," Wickham said.

Hannah will be farewelled as a wedding celebration that will include bridesmaids, groomsmen and a dog carrying wedding rings. "She's going to be buried in her wedding dress and there will be six bridesmaids and groomsmen, including my son."Their little dog is going to be carrying the rings up in the chapel." She also wanted to be married barefoot and will be buried barefoot.

Wickham has vowed to dedicate the rest of her life to finding a cure for the rare cancer Hannah died from, which is suffered mostly by teenagers, through her daughter's The Hannah's Chance Foundation.

"I know I was given a gift to swim fast and I know it wasn't now to win gold medals or for pats on the back," she said.

The Wesley Research Institute has established the foundation in Hannah's memory to fund future research projects into her rare cancer.

ONE of Hannah Ciobo's closest friends has revealed the full story of her engagement to Tom O'Driscoll, whom she married on her deathbed on Monday night.

Megan O'Dowd, who was due to visit the 19-year-old in hospital on the day she died, told NEWS.com.au that Hannah, the most beautiful girl also had the most romantic of engagements.
The daughter of record-breaking swimmer Tracey Wickham, Hannah died early on Tuesday morning, having married Mr O'Driscoll to fulfil her dying wish.

Ms O'Dowd said that when Mr O'Driscoll proposed to Hannah on a quiet beach, they had no idea that someone was watching them.

''Her little brother was hiding in the bushes videotaping it,'' Ms O'Dowd said. She said that only a few friends knew about the engagement before a small get-together at Hannah's house one night.
''We were all at her house, and they put on the video. ''Hannah wasn't wearing her ring before that she was so happy. ''I think she wanted to surprise everyone.'' Ms O'Dowd said that Hannah was an inspiration to everyone who would put others ahead of herself. ''She was just the bravest person she would put everyone else first,'' she said. ''Everyone just loved her shell be missed forever.'' Ms O'Dowd said that Mr O'Driscoll was the perfect match for Hannah, but the two didnt start going out straight away.

''There was a bit of mucking around. ''I saw Tom last night he's being very brave.
''He was asking how are you, how are you.'' She also said that Hannahs funeral, scheduled for Sunday, would be more like a wedding.

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