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Terminally ill young mum in tears as ‘soulmate’ boyfriend proposes at hospital bedside


This is the tear-jerking moment a young Scots mum battling terminal cancer broke down in tears after her boyfriend proposed at her hospital bedside.

Nurse Maria O’Neill, from Coatbridge, was overwhelmed when boyfriend Joe Weatherall popped the question on Wednesday at Monklands Hospital where she is receiving treatment.

Quality Technician Joe was allowed into Maria’s ward outwith visiting hours to try to lift the 28-year-old’s spirits after having she had a tough, emotional day.

And Joe, 29, managed to do just that by surprising mum-of-one Maria by asking her to be his wife.

After seeking permission from her parents, Joe handed Maria a cookie decorated iced with ‘Marry me?’ and got down on one knee by her bedside.

Joe also managed to capture the tear-jerking proposal on video for their loved ones to see.



Maria, Joe and little Mila
Maria, Joe and little Mila

Maria, who recently found out that her triple negative breast cancer was now terminal, told the Record the proposal was far from how she imagined it to be.

The mum-of-one added: “Sitting in a hospital bed, stinking, with no makeup, no nails, no hair or nothing is definitely not how I ever imagined my engagement to be, but it was beyond perfect and I am truly blessed.

“Joe said let’s not waste any more time and I couldn’t agree more. He’s my absolute soul mate.



The moment Joe Weatherall asks Maria O’Neill to be his wife

“Its all about true love and not the fancy proposal. Where is happens makes absolutely no difference.”

Maria, who is mum to two-year-old Mila, described partner of two years Joe as her soulmate.

The pair went through both primary and high school together, but didn’t become a couple until 2020.

Maria said: “Joe has stuck by me from day one.

“When we got together I was a single mum with a six-month-old baby, which is a lot for anyone to take on, but I couldn’t ask for anything more for my Mila.

“The bond they have is simply beautiful and unbreakable.



Maria said she can't stop looking at her gorgeous new engagement ring
Maria said she can’t stop looking at her gorgeous new engagement ring

“He then stuck by my side when I had a cancer diagnosis. Most other young guys would have ran a mile.

“My cancer is now unfortunately terminal.

“I don’t know, nor do I want to know how much time I have left, but all I do know is I don’t want to spend another second of my life without Joe right by my side.”

Maria was diagnosed with Triple Negative Breast Cancer in May 2021 after she found a lump in her breast.

After numerous rounds of chemotherapy, she underwent a lumpectomy to remove the tumour in November 2021.

A few months later she was told there was no evidence of disease and said she was over the moon at the prospect of being able to move on with her life.

Sadly after finding another lump in February 2022, Maria was told her cancer had now spread to her sternum, spine and also her lungs and was diagnosed as having stage 4 metastatic breast cancer.

To make matters worse for the family, the devastating news came amid her mum Margaret Wallace’s own battle with ovarian cancer.



Maria and Joe have been together for two years
Maria and Joe have been together for two years

Maria added: “My poor mum has ovarian cancer too and is also undergoing chemotherapy and waiting on a big surgery.

“So we’ve had a rubbish time recently. Me and my mum are super close and we do everything together, but we never expected to be going through this.

“Cancer just doesn’t discriminate and doesn’t care what families it destroys.”

Maria said the couple haven’t made any wedding plans just yet.

She added: “I’m desperate to get home from hospital, so we can talk about it all and celebrate our engagement.

“We plan on being married soon. We don’t know how much time I have left unfortunately, as my health is deteriorating quite quickly.

“But we’re going to get stuck into the planning to take our minds off of everything else.”

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