Meet the 21-year-old student widow

On September 12th of this year, Becca stood beside Dan on their awaited wedding day. Two weeks later, she became a widow.

Becca Thomas, an English Language and Communications student at CCCU, lived a quiet life up until she fell in love with Daniel.

She met him at the start of 2018 and the two became great friends.

Three years before she met him, he’d already been diagnosed with one of the rarest form of cancer: Pleomorphic Sarcomatoid Carcinomas. Dan later found out that his illness became terminal – and that he only had a limited time left of his young life.

Not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings and fearing the consequences of attachment, Dan refused to enter a relationship with anybody. But as their friendship grew, so did Dan and Becca’s feelings for each other.

Becca tells Unified of the day when they officially became boyfriend and girlfriend.

“At first, we had this joke where we weren’t going to get attached to each other. That’s only because he wanted to protect my feelings. But one day, we were at the pub and he said, ‘you know what? This is really stupid, let’s just put a label on it!’

“From that moment onwards, I didn’t leave Dan’s side,” Becca recalled.

Dan and Becca earlier this year

The 21-year-old Becca then spent every single day with Dan, never leaving Dan to attend a single hospital appointment or surgery by himself. Becca stood outside the door at every single one of Dan’s surgery during their time as a couple. The inseparable pair had moved in together and spent following days as if it were the last.

Despite being terminally ill, Becca and Dan made sure that they still lived adventurous lives like any young couple. One of their fondest memories was being up on the main stage at Reading festival. Becca said: “Dan never wanted the fact that he had cancer to get in the way of life. People think that if you have cancer, your life is just bed and hospital appointments – but we did the weirdest and most fun things.”

Around July, Dan had gotten and he had to use a stick to help him walk. But regardless, it didn’t stop him from ploughing on with his life with his other half.

He had thrown a few jokes at Becca about getting married, “is this where it’s going to come to?!”, Becca thought.

A month later (August), Dan proposed.

On September 12, 2018, Becca and Daniel got married in Somerset. All throughout their wedding day, Dan didn’t touch his walking stick a single time.

“Dan looked so well, you wouldn’t have even thought that he was sick. In the wedding photos, everyone said he looked like the Dan they knew before he had cancer. For him to look well and enjoy the day – that’s all I could have asked for.”

Mr and Mrs Thomas

A few days after the wedding, the husband and wife were travelled from their home in Somerset to London. Unexpectedly, Dan’s health began to deteriorate. He was then admitted into BRI Hospital in Bristol. “His levels went back to normal so we went back home. But a few nights after, it came back again. We stayed at home but he was in so much pain that we called the ambulance,” Becca recalled.

Dan was then taken back to the hospital where he was scanned.

The results showed that Dan’s cancer had invaded every vital organ in his body.

Becca remembers: “He’d gone from being okay and being married a few days before the cancer reached the lining of his heart, his lungs… It was horrendous. I remember crying my heart out when the doctor told me that they was nothing they could do.

“That was it… Before they’d asked Dan if he wanted to be resuscitated, but at that point the doctors had said ‘it would be kinder not to resuscitate you’ as there was no chance of him surviving.”

Dan was then moved to his registered hospice. His wife Becca, alongside his family, held his hand has he fell deeply into sleep. Daniel Thomas passed away on September 28, 2018.

Dan, a few days before he sadly passed away

Now, the 21-year-old student widow remembers her joking with Dan about the length of their marriage. Laughing, she said “I remember saying how happy we were about the whole 2 weeks of being married! But now I’m a young widow.”

Becca continued, “I remember going to the pub with Dan’s little brother a few hours after he passed away and this guy asked for my number. I turned around and said ‘my husband died this morning’ – the shock on his face!”

Becca with her tattoo which is Dan’s hand writing from a letter he wrote her

Alongside working towards her degree at Canterbury Christ Church, Becca Thomas aims to raise awareness about Dan’s rare type of cancer, as well providing support for the young widows of society.

“People need to know that the bravest thing you can do is to accept that you’re having a bad day. Nobody sees a widow and think ‘they’re fine’ – so it’s good to say to yourself that you’re not. There will be good days and bad days.

“All I know is that when I’m having a good day and I’m happy, I’m genuinely really happy. Because I remember that I now live my life for him as well.”

Becca wants to reach out to any young widows who are struggling: “I’m here if you just need a chat or support.”

She would also like to thank the amazing charities (Youth Cancer Trust, Macmillan, Royal Marsden Hospital and Weston Hospice Care) that have helped her husband and his loved ones throughout his journey.

Get in touch with Becca through her Instagram and Youtube.

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Claisse Opulencia

Editor-in-Chief of Unified. Claisse is a third year multimedia journalism student at CCCU. Amnesty Media Award Finalist 2018, IRN Awards Runner-up 2018 and nominated for two SPA Awards 2018.

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