Donna Penny continues to fight cancer.
Donna Penny continues to fight cancer. Kathy Sundstrom

Why terminally ill Donna wants to say 'I do' again

TERMINALLY ill mum Donna Penny is preparing to say "I do" to the love of her life all over again.

But this time, when she ties the knot to her husband, Jason Penny, it will be all about creating "mummy memories".

The cancer, first diagnosed in Donna's breast, has spread to her liver and other parts of her body. Each day is a precious gift.

She has lived "more two years past my expiry date" with doctors advising in 2013 she was unlikely to survive beyond two years.

Through the initial, frightening diagnosis, the chemotherapy, the surgery, the vomiting, the hair loss, the hopes raised and then cruelly dashed has been her husband, Jason Penny.

 

Jason and Donna Penny.
Jason and Donna Penny.

Donna, the inspiring author of 'Why my mummy' always wanted to renew her vows to Jason.

She has realised her opportunity to do this may be running out.

"I don't know much time I have on my side with the progression (of the cancer)," Donna said.

"It is in my liver now, we are trying to get it under control."

Her friend, marriage celebrant Suzanne Riley told her about My Wedding Wish, a charity for terminally ill people and suggested she should apply.

My Wedding Wish's Lynette McGuire didn't hesitate in accepting and now Donna and Jason have a new wedding date set for June 1 at the Sunshine Castle at Bli Bli.

 

Donna and Jason's first wedding.
Donna and Jason's first wedding.

This wedding will be all about their family.

Oldest son, Aiden Marett, 22, will give Donna away. Other sons Tyson, 18 and Kai, 10, will be the "best men" and her step-daughter, Ashley, will be her bridesmaid.

Jason proposed to Donna "a week before I had to start chemo the first time".

Kai was only 20 months old and has "only ever known mummy as unwell". Now he will be able to have an active part in this wedding.

When Kai hears of new treatments for breast cancer, he goes to his mum and asks "is that going to make you better mum?".

"I want to do it for him, I want to make great mummy memories," Donna said.

"I have seen my friends battle cancer and not survive, to see their kids grow up breaks my heart.

"I don't want him (Kai) to forget me. I want him to know me as a mummy that makes things happen."

 

Donna Penny with husband Jason and son Kai.
Donna Penny with husband Jason and son Kai.

Planning the wedding has also given Donna something positive to focus on as she battles through another gruelling round of chemotherapy.

"It's worse than the intravenous one (she had previously), I have had nausea, diarrhoea and cramps. My feet are blistered and peeled. I am so tired, it is just ridiculous," she said.

Her new wedding will also be about the new "beautiful friends" she has made since she was diagnosed.

"So much has come to me through this illness," Donna said.

"It's going to be about celebrating life and celebrating new friends."

The Sunshine Coast community has come together to help make Donna and Jason's day one to remember with $30,000 donated in supplies.

All that remains unprovided for is the wedding canapes, a cost of about $2500.

Kai was the inspiration behind Donna writing the book Why my mummy which has made headlines around the country.

She has been approached with a chance of having the book placed in schools.

"I would love for the book to be in every school and hospital," Donna said.

To learn about Donna's book visit www.whymymummy.com.au and if you can help with the wedding canapes, visit myweddingwish.com.au


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