Stevenage newlyweds cut short celebrations to be at sick daughter's hospital bedside

A COUPLE had to cut short their wedding celebrations to be at the bedside of their two-year-old daughter, who had taken ill days earlier and hospitalised amid fears of leukaemia. Isobel and Phil Danaher, of Haycroft Road in Stevenage, had been planning th

A COUPLE had to cut short their wedding celebrations to be at the bedside of their two-year-old daughter, who had taken ill days earlier and hospitalised amid fears of leukaemia.

Isobel and Phil Danaher, of Haycroft Road in Stevenage, had been planning their wedding for eight months and finally tied the knot at Stevenage Register Office on Friday.

But the newlyweds' special day was fraught with anguish as their daughter, Libby, lay seriously ill in a bed on the Bluebell ward in Lister Hospital, Stevenage.

She was taken ill six days before the wedding, with a swollen stomach and a fever.


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Libby was taken into isolation on the children's ward at Lister after doctors discovered vital organs were distended.

"Her kidney, liver and spleen were severely enlarged and not functioning as they should," said Mrs Danaher, 26. "Two blood disorders were also identified, as well as fluid on her stomach. She has also lost an awful lot of hair."

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Mr and Mrs Danaher, who met in 2006 when Mrs Danaher was running The White Hart in Stevenage, said they tried to postpone their wedding as soon as Libby was taken ill but were told they would lose all their money if they did.

"We would have lost everything, and we can't afford to do anything again so we had to get on with it," explained Mrs Danaher, who has two other daughters - seven-year-old Tessa and 16-month-old Milli.

"I got up on the morning of the wedding and had to get ready in the hospital," she said. "Libby was going to be a bridesmaid so I put her in her dress and she lay in it in her hospital bed."

The couple married at Stevenage Register Office and made a brief appearance at their wedding reception at the Novotel in Stevenage before heading off to Lister to be with their daughter. "We left everybody there to carry on without us, asking them for our sakes to enjoy themselves," she said.

The newlyweds were not even able to spend their wedding night together, with Mr Danaher, 43, having to return to the Novotel to care for Tessa and Milli and Mrs Danaher remaining at Libby's bedside.

"I don't know how we're holding it all together really," said Mrs Danaher, who was seriously ill herself last year when she was struck down with viral meningitis.

"The doctors have tested for everything, including leukaemia, but they don't know what's caused Libby's symptoms in order to give us a diagnosis. It's absolutely horrendous to be honest.

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