Flower girl Paige gets her final wish
LITTLE Paige wanted nothing more than to be a flower girl at her mummy and daddy's wedding.
So, when confronted with the heartbreaking news their four-year-old only had days to live, Pimpama's Jacob Skarratts and Tania Miller did the seemingly impossible and made their little girl's dream come true within 24 hours.
"We were planning this big wedding next year that I thought would be perfect but this was beyond perfect," Tania said of the impromptu and incredibly moving ceremony held a week ago in front of about 30 loved ones at Brisbane's Lady Cilento Children's Hospital.
"Last Thursday was a dark day, a very dark day. It's hard when a parent is told your child's not going to live but to be able to get married the next day meant our hearts sang.
"Paige had such excitement about us getting married. Every time we would see people she'd say 'My mummy and daddy are getting married and I'm going to be a flower girl'.
"This isn't how we planned it, she couldn't open her eyes, but we had her there and that's the main thing … she got to feel and hear and sense the love she's created."
Only two months ago Paige was a healthy, happy girl.
Then came the headaches and eventual diagnosis of a brain tumour the size of a lemon. Within days she was having surgery. Soon after her parents were hearing the word "incurable".
In a desperate bid to prolong her life, Paige last week started chemotherapy and radiation but an adverse reaction after just one day led to the discovery of fluid and blood on her brain - and the hardest conversation her parents will ever have.
"The doctors took them to another room to let them know there was nothing else they could do," said Innez Stonnell, Jacob's sister.
"They were told she only had a week or two. They were soon crying with Mum and I and that's when they said 'We want to get married before it happens'. I asked if they wanted me to help and when they said 'Yes', I said 'OK, I'm going'."
What Innez did in the next 24 hours is gift her brother and sister-in-law with a moment and memory so precious they are struggling to find enough words to thank her.
"I just focused on the main things that needed to happen," Innez said of achieving in 24 hours what some brides spend months, if not years, planning.
"Finding a celebrant. Getting permission to have a wedding at the hospital. I knew the dress Tania wanted but was limited in what I could find and was sending her photos saying 'Do you like this one'.
"I had people phoning to say what they had done. My sister's best friend is a cake maker. One of the mums from Paige's kindy works for a wedding co-ordinator and organised all the decorations and music.
"We pulled the wedding together for $1000 and it was the most magical night ever."
And the most magical thing of all was the flower girls - two-year-old Imogen and her big sister Paige, the little darling wheeled down the aisle by a nurse dressed as Superman.
"I always pictured dressing my daughter for my wedding and sharing those special moments and I've got that now," said Tania, who prepared for the ceremony next to Paige in her hospital bed.
"Paige was beautiful, just absolutely stunning. She was the star of the show … and this has reaffirmed our bond and what we're about as a family and Paige did that. From the day we had her, she has made us who we are today.
"Every day since the wedding, we wake up and are thankful for having it. Every hour that passes we're grateful for having more time with her.
"She's still fighting. She's our Wonder Woman."
With both Jake and Tania off work while caring for Paige, a GoFundMe campaign has been launched to support the family.