London - The groom’s speech at a wedding is usually a frothy mix of risque jokes and pledges of undying love.
But Jack Kane brought the house down when he married soon after being told that he had terminal cancer by telling tearful guests: "I’m not dying."
On Friday, October 13, Mr Kane, 23, was diagnosed with an untreatable tumour on his spine and told he had weeks to live. So he proposed to girlfriend Emma Clarke and quickly planned a wedding.
He was in such a bad way when he proposed to Miss Clarke, also 23, nurses had to lift him from his wheelchair so he could get down on one knee in the cancer ward.
But in the eight days between his proposal and the ceremony in hospital, doctors discovered that instead of cancer, he had a rare neurological condition and he was going to live after all.
He kept the news secret till his wedding speech at a nearby hall, leaving the couple’s 130 guests weeping when he announced from his wheelchair: "We’ve discovered that I’m not terminally ill."
Mr Kane, an account manager from Billingham, Teesside, said: "You could have heard a pin drop – then it sank in and we had tears, cheers and everyone clapping. It was a moment I’ll never forget."
He received the original diagnosis after his health rapidly deteriorated and he became unable to walk. He had back pain, pins and needles and hypersensitive legs.
Doctors diagnosed everything from a trapped nerve to mental illness, until he woke up one day to find he could not move at all and was admitted to James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough.
Following tests and scans which indicated a tumour on the spine, Mr Kane was given the news that he had just weeks to live. He said: "I was always going to marry Emma. From the day I met her I knew I wanted to be with her."
But days before the ceremony, a scan showed that the "tumour" was shrinking, with further tests leading medics to realise he actually had Devic’s disease, in which the spine and optic nerve become inflamed and signals to the brain are impaired.
The couple married in hospital on October 23, and then joined guests at the nearby reception, where they broke the good news.
Mrs Kane, who runs a sewing firm, said: "I’ve never known anything like the despair of being told he was going to die. What we’ve gone through these last few weeks people don’t go through in a lifetime."
He said: "My legs may never come back but there are people worse off than me. I won’t be beaten."