A WOMAN who has suffered heart problems for 15 years has enjoyed the dream wedding she feared she would never have.
Keri Nightingale, 26, has a rare heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy which means she will eventually need a heart transplant.
Her wedding to Michael Bennett was even more emotional because her father Graham, 59, who suffers from the same condition and had a heart transplant in 2005, was able to walk her down the aisle at St Firmin’s Church in Thurlby last month.
Keri, who now uses her married name Bennett, said: “The wedding was amazing, scary and exciting – a monumental day for me and one I never thought I would get to have. I certainly didn’t imagine my dad would be there to enjoy it.
“The weather was gorgeous and I couldn’t stop grinning.
“I’m exceptionally lucky to have found Mike. There can’t be many people who would take on someone who may have to have a heart transplant.
“He looks after me and he never looks on me as an ill person. In fact he describes me as always fun.”
And Mike, also 26, feels equally lucky.
He said: “The wedding was an absolute dream come true and it was something we never thought would happen.
“When I saw her in the dress, I was gobsmacked. She looked amazing and I felt very lucky to be marrying her and celebrating that with all our friends and family.”
Father-of-the-bride Graham said: “When I was walking down the aisle I felt very excited and very proud and very happy to be there enjoying the day.”
Keri was diagnosed with a heart murmur when she was 11, after suffering health problems throughout her childhood. Until then she had been an energetic youngster.
She was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy at 19, which if undiagnosed can be fatal. This led to heart failure, which is controlled by drugs and a strict lifestyle regime.
Any further deterioration will mean Keri needs a heart transplant. She attends hospital every few months for check-ups.
Keri said: “It seems as if I’ve been swept up into a fairytale. To be told what I was told at 19, to have to live your life so carefully and then to meet this amazing man. I can’t imagine my life without him now.”
The couple, of Poplar Crescent, Bourne, met when they were pupils at Robert Manning school.