Wickham funeral will also be a 'wedding'
Thursday Oct 4 09:58 AEST
The funeral of Australian swimming legend Tracey Wickham's teenage daughter Hannah, will double as a wedding celebration after she married her "soul mate" just hours before her death from cancer this week.
Nineteen-year-old Hannah lost her three-year battle with the disease in a Brisbane hospital in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Her marriage to 20-year-old Tom O'Driscoll, whom she met in hospital while he too was being treated for cancer, was to have been held on the Sunshine Coast in 10 days time.
Both went into remission, but Hannah's returned in a more aggressive form earlier this year.
When it became clear Hannah was losing her struggle with cancer, arrangements were hastily made for a priest to marry them in a bedside ceremony in Brisbane's Wesley Hospital on Monday night.
Hannah's death came three years to the day since she first discovered a lump in her leg, which later spread to one of her lungs.
Tracey Wickham, dual swimming world champion and former holder of the 400m, 800m and 1500m freestyle world records, said she was comforted that Hannah had got her dying wish.
"She knew what was going on, she gazed into his eyes and the love they had for each other was incredible," a distraught Wickham told Southern Cross Broadcasting.
"Tom is the most special person ... they were meant to meet. They were meant to get cancer and they were meant to meet because he was her soul mate and vice versa.
"The year they had together was so beautiful."
Hannah died with her family and friends around her three hours after the bedside ceremony.
Her funeral service will be held on Sunday at 2pm in the chapel of All Hallows School in Brisbane where she was a student until two years ago.
Wickham said the occasion would also mark her daughter's marriage.
"We are going treat it as a wedding," she said.
"She's going to be buried in her wedding dress and there will be six bridesmaids and groomsmen, including my son.