A Knysna coupled tied the knot at the Melomed Hospital in Tokai after the bride's father was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Picture: Robin-Lee Francke/African News Agency (ANA)
A Knysna coupled tied the knot at the Melomed Hospital in Tokai after the bride's father was diagnosed with a terminal illness. Picture: Robin-Lee Francke/African News Agency (ANA)

LOOK: Not a dry eye in sight as gravely ill Cape Town dad watches daughter tie knot from his hospital bed

By Robin-Lee Francke Time of article published Apr 7, 2021

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Cape Town - It may not have been the fairytale every little girl dreams about, but the wedding of a young woman marrying her soulmate at a Cape Town hospital did not leave a dry eye in the room.

Twenty-five year old Ashley Cilliers and Louis Aucamp, 27, from Knysna tied the knot in an intimate ceremony at the Melomed Hospital in Tokai on Tuesday.

It was a bittersweet moment as the couple, who have been together for three years, made their vows on the second floor, metres away from Cilliers’ ailing father Chris’s hospital bed.

Aucamp popped the big question six months into the relationship but the love birds encountered a few obstacles to their nuptials, most recently the Covid-19 pandemic which interrupted their plans last year.

Chris Cilliers being wheeled into the venue where his daughter married her soulmate. Picture: Robin-Lee Francke/African News Agency (ANA)

Then, on March 27 Cilliers’ father was diagnosed with progressive leukemia, a blood cancer caused by a rise in the number of white blood cells in the body. Those white blood cells crowd out the red blood cells and platelets that the body needs to be healthy.

The pair decided they would get married in hospital, so Chris Cilliers could be present.

Hospital staff went all-out to make it happen, and a meeting room was turned into a wedding venue to accommodate the family. Covid-19 protocols were followed in order to ensure the safety of all nine wedding guests.

The Melomed Tokai hospital gifted the couple a wedding cake and snacks along with a venue to make their day special. Picture: Robin-Lee Francke/African News Agency (ANA)

Although the hospital is currently not allowing visitors because of the pandemic, it made an exception for the family because of the special circumstances, Melomed group marketing manager Shameema Adams told the African News Agency (ANA).

“We really wanted to do something for the family and got them a wedding cake as well as snacks to make it more intimate than having a cold wedding,” she said.

“We really wanted to make this wish come true for this family and see a happy ending as the wedding has been cancelled before.”

Ashley and her father Chris in the corridor minutes before she said ’I do’. Picture: Robin-Lee Francke/African News Agency (ANA)

Love, excitement and nervousness -- the latter on the part of the groom -- were in the air along the hospital corridors, with staff passing through to wish the couple the best.

The mothers of the couple were elegantly dressed in red wine evening dresses and the bride wore a traditional white wedding dress, but a face mask instead of a veil.

She burst into tears as her father was wheeled in and ahead of her as she walked towards her groom.

After the pair were declared husband and wife, Chris Cilliers also wept as he was taken back to his bed.

Pastor Richard Meyer officiated at the wedding of Ashley Cilliers and Louis Aucamp at the Melomed Tokai Hospital where the bride's father has been admitted with a terminal illness. Picture: Robin-Lee Francke/African News Agency (ANA)

The wedding was “third time lucky” for the couple, Ashley Cilliers told ANA.

“I am so happy. We made the decision to get married sooner after my father’s diagnosis a week ago,” she said.

“I know the side effects of leukemia and told my mother and my now husband that I want to get married before he (father) loses his hair or changes. I want him to still be himself.”

The newly-weds cut the wedding cake. Picture: Robin-Lee Francke/African News Agency (ANA)

Aucamp, who declared himself the happiest man in the world, said the ceremony was only a formality for him as he had already committed himself to his bride long ago.

“I was extremely excited. I am an easy person and I wasn’t unsure at all. To me, this was more of a procedure than anything. I was married to her for a long time already,” he said proudly.

The couple plans to have a reception later to allow for other family and friends to celebrate the wedding.

African News Agency (ANA)

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