A university student with just days left to live after being diagnosed with a brain tumour four months ago has ‘married’ his girlfriend in an emotional bedside service.
Owen Copland, 20, from Liverpool, suffered headaches for around a month before being diagnosed with the disease in November last year and undergoing a life-saving operation.
But after his tumour showed signs of growth earlier this month, doctors gave him an extremely bleak prognosis and with potentially only days to live, Owen said he wanted to wed his girlfriend of two years, Sarah Jones, 21.
The couple’s loved ones arranged a wedding in just two hours, and the bedside service, which was a commitment ceremony as opposed to a marriage in the eyes of the law, took place at his home on March 8.
Owen Copland, 20, from Liverpool, married his girlfriend Sarah Jones, 21, (both pictured during wedding) after being given just days to live due to his aggressive brain tumour
The wedding (above) was amazingly arranged in two hours, and the bedside service, which was a commitment ceremony not a marriage in the eyes of the law, took place on March 8
Speaking from his hospital bed, Owen said he proposed to Sarah on February 25 after getting a second opinion about his condition and realising its severity.
He said: ‘When I came home I saw my girlfriend and said, “I want to marry you”.’
Owen’s best man Luke managed to attend the wedding with less than 24 hours notice and prepared ‘the most beautiful speech’ that Owen’s mother Gill, 54, said she had ever heard.
Although Owen, who has been supported by Brain Tumour Research, was confined to his bed, he wed his beautiful bride and enjoyed the festivities, which included live music, flowers and food.
Speaking about the ceremony, Owen explained: ‘It felt good to see my friends and hear my best man’s speech, who I asked to be my best man just the day before.
‘I’d been wanting to be on my game and speak to my friends online but because of Covid I couldn’t see him.
Owen explained that he proposed to Sarah on February 25 after getting a second opinion about his condition and realising its severity (pictured with loved ones at wedding)
Owen (pictured before falling ill) suffered headaches for a month before being diagnosed with a brain tumour in November and he underwent a life-saving operation and radiotherapy
Owen’s mother Gill said it wasn’t until she took Owen (pictured having treatment) to hospital three times that he was given a CT scan and diagnosed with a brain lesion due to Covid-19
‘So to get a speech from my best man in person was emotional for both of us.’
WHAT IS A GLIOBLASTOMA?
Glioblastomas are the most common cancerous brain tumours in adults.
They are fast growing and likely to spread.
Glioblastomas’ cause is unknown but may be related to a sufferer’s genes if mutations result in cells growing uncontrollably, forming a tumour.
Treatment is usually surgery to remove as much of the tumour as possible, followed by a combination of radio- and chemotherapy (chemoradiation).
It can be difficult to remove all of the growth as glioblastomas have tendrils that extend to other regions of the brain. These are targeted via chemoradiation.
Glioblastomas are often resistant to treatment as they are usually made up of different types of cells. Therefore, medication will kill off some cells and not others.
The average survival time is between 12 and 18 months.
Only 20 per cent of patients live longer than a year and just three per cent survive over three years.
Source: The Brain Tumour Charity
The third-year drama student at Liverpool John Moores University said he has been given immense support from his family, particularly mum Gill and sister Jane, 25.
He continued: ‘Before I took my family for granted and since my diagnosis I have wanted them there by my side which they have been.
‘I know they will never leave me or give up on me, I love them.’
Owen started suffering from headaches during the second coronavirus lockdown in October last year while studying in his final year of university.
His mother Gill said she had tried to get a doctor’s appointment but was unable to due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
According to Gill, it wasn’t until she had rung for two ambulances and taken Owen to hospital three times that he was given a CT scan and diagnosed with a brain lesion.
After the CT scan, Owen underwent an MRI, which revealed an aggressive type of brain tumour and on November 10, he underwent a six-hour lifesaving operation.
But further testing showed that the tumour was a Grade 4 Glioblastoma type, the most aggressive type, and an MRI at Liverpool’s Clatterbridge Cancer Centre revealed the tumour had spread to his spine.
On February 25, Owen got a second opinion from a consultant clinical oncologist, who explained the outlook to give him an ‘understanding of just how bad everything was’.
Owen was given the tragic prognosis of an incurable tumour that could claim his life within a matter of days, but the student has remained positive throughout.
He explained: ‘I am staying positive and putting all my fight into this.
After the CT scan, Owen (right) underwent an MRI, which revealed an aggressive type of brain tumour and on November 10, he underwent a six-hour lifesaving operation (left)
But after his tumour showed signs of growth earlier this month, doctors gave him a bleak prognosis and with potentially only days to live, Owen wed his girlfriend Sarah (pictured)
Owen (pictured) and his mother Gill said that they are speaking about their ordeal during to raise awareness for brain tumours, which Gill claims lacks funding
The third-year drama student (pictured in hospital) at Liverpool John Moores University said he has been given immense support from his family, particularly mum Gill and sister Jane, 25
‘I know there is no cure and the prognosis is bad but if I get told two weeks I’ll go for another week. I just want to feel better but it is what it is and we’ll deal with it.’
On March 5, a doctor said that the tumour was pressing against Owen’s brain stem, causing his heart rate to drop, adding that he could be dead within a matter of days.
Friends and family rallied together to organise the wedding, which was a commitment ceremony as opposed to a marriage in the eyes of the law.
Owen remains in hospital, where the treatment available is limited due to his advanced condition, and it’s thought he could pass away any day.
The student and his mother Gill said that they are speaking about their ordeal during to raise awareness for brain tumours, which Gill claims lacks funding.
Gill continued: ‘I passionately believe there should be more funding into research for brain tumours. He and others who are suffering deserve this change to happen.
‘While all cancers and illnesses are devastating, this is in a league of its own. It’s like wading through mud.
‘Unlike other cancers, this was something I’d never heard of; the awareness is just not there.’
The family are sharing Owen’s journey on his Facebook page, called ‘Owen & Glioblastoma’, while his story emerged during Brain Tumour Awareness Month.
Fundraising event Wear A Hat Day is also set to take place March 26, which sees people don a hat for the day to raise money for Brain Tumour Research.
To donate to Owen’s crowdfunding page, set up by his friends to support him, please visit uk.gofundme.com/f/owen-copland.