When Anna Swabey took to her blog, Inside My Head, on December 8, 2015, it was to share exciting news: Her boyfriend of 10 months, Andy Bell, had proposed.“He knew from day one that I was battling a terminal illness, and yet did not let this, in any way, shape or form cloud any of our time together,” Swabey wrote. “The most beautiful thing for me, is that Andy sees me, just for me, not ‘Anna with a brain tumor.’”
But Swabey never made it down the aisle. The 25-year-old from Leicester, England, passed away on Friday, September 16, just one day before she was due to wed Bell in front of 160 love ones. “Amongst our sadness, we are so proud of her courage, her spirit and the determination she showed throughout her illness,” Swabey’s heartbroken family wrote on Facebook.
— Inside My Head (@braintumourblog) June 27, 2016
The University of Portsmouth graduate was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor in January 2015, one month before meeting Bell on the dating app Tinder. “I knew halfway through my third date with Andy that I was going to break his heart. Not because I was going to cheat on him or dump him, but because I knew I was going to die,” Swabey revealed in an essay for Marie Claire.
In the piece, the cancer-stricken Swabey admitted she was anxious about how her passing would affect her fiancé. “I worry about how he’ll cope when I start slipping away. I hate the idea of him becoming my carer, and it terrifies me that I might not be ‘myself’ at the end,” she wrote. “That’s why we’re getting married in September. It’s not about a big dress or a big party, it’s about making memories for Andy and making a commitment to each other. Terminal illness has taught me to seize opportunities, so I have to trust him when he says he wants to be with me forever. Even if I don’t know how long that is.”
— Inside My Head (@braintumourblog) May 3, 2015
Bell, an electrical maintenance engineer, helped Swabey through more than 12 rounds of chemotherapy treatments. “I know that by marrying Anna, I’ll be a widower before my 30th birthday,” he told the Daily Mail in July. “However, all I want is to be able to introduce her as ‘my wife.’ I can’t wait for that moment.”
Swabey helped to raise nearly $100,000 for the Brain Tumor Research Campaign through fundraising.
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