Brave bride loses cancer battle just ten days after marrying partner of 10 years
Brave bride and New Day columnist Mo Akhtar has died from cancer just 10 days after marrying her partner of 10 years.
Mo, 32, from Bow, East London wed Farbaz, 40, in St Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney on 19 March.
She started an emotional diary for publication in The New Day to chart her first days as a newly-wed, and some of the last days of her life.
Her hope was to raise awareness of lung cancer in young people and her words struck a chord with thousands.
Tragically, she passed away at home on the same day her first entry was published, last Monday.
Farbaz said: “She wanted for her thoughts and words to be read in the paper and keeping them going has been a tribute to her.”
Mo was diagnosed with lung cancer last July after a persistent cough led her to take some time off work.
Farbaz saw an NHS advert encouraging people not to ignore such symptoms and urged his fiancee to go to the doctor.
She was quickly diagnosed with lung cancer which then spread to her brain and told it was terminal.
Mo did not want to know how long she had left to live.
Paying tribute, Farbaz said: "After 10 days of marriage, and 10 years together, cancer has torn us apart.
"So I’ll be signing off Mo’s diary earlier than we’d hoped. Tragically, she couldn’t complete it but I’m sure that my brave, beautiful bride has already inspired many of you. She certainly changed my life.
"It was a year ago our nightmare started, with a rasping cough that just wouldn’t go away. I’d seen an NHS advert saying if you have a cough for more than three weeks you should get it checked out. ‘You’ve got to do something about it,’ I told her.
"Then last July we were looking forward to going to Lloret de Mar in Spain, a place we loved so much we dreamt of retiring there but the cough was playing on her mind.
"When a lump appeared in her neck she went straight to A&E and they finally found the cancer – a tumour in her lung that had already spread to her brain. Ploughing all her energy into surviving, enduring chemotherapy, she pushed for an extra month, week or even just one more day.
"Our wedding in the hospice was planned in just six days. It wasn’t as things were supposed to be. We’d planned to get financially secure, then we’d get married, have kids, and live happily ever after.
"She was distraught she’d never have children but also told me she had no regrets.
"We’ve been so happy. Our special thing was to walk to London’s Tower Bridge. We did it practically every day for 10 years. That path beside the River Thames is where I’ll go to remember her now.
"When Mo and I met, it’s fair to say I had my troubles – but with her holding my hand, I was able to find the right path.
"Just before she died, when the fighter I knew was almost beaten, she said how worried she was about leaving me, how she knew I was still vulnerable.
"‘I want you to carry on as you are,’ she said. I plan to do just that. Mo used to say that, despite the pain she was in, cancer was worse for me. ‘When the time comes, I’ll be gone, but you’ll have to pick up the pieces,’ she’d say. And that’s what I’m doing, as best as I possibly can."