A couple who met in hospital while having liver transplants have got married – and spent their honeymoon competing at the British Transplant Games.
Wayne Boden, 49, was admitted to hospital in 2012 to wait for a liver transplant after his body rejected an earlier one.
While there he met Shelley, 35, who was having rejection treatment for a donor liver she had received six months earlier.
The poorly pair struck up a friendship and enjoyed dates in the day room and intimate walks until Shelley was discharged.
But she returned as a visitor just days later after learning Wayne had gone under the knife – and they fell in love and got engaged a year later.
The pair tied the knot in an emotional ceremony last week – and then headed to both compete in the British Transplant Games in Newcastle for their honeymoon.
Nursery nurse Shelley, who had a transplant after suffering autoimmune hepatitis, said: “If I wasn’t in hospital for my rejection we wouldn’t have ever met.
“I think it is just good luck. We found love. We know what each other is going through.”
“If he’s ill, I know what to do, and if I’m ill I know he will look after me. We know how each other is feeling and what each other is going through.”
“We have our check-ups together, going in the room together to see the same consultant.
“[The staff] can’t believe that we met in hospital and got married – they say they’ve never seen anything like it. It is quite a lovely story.”
Shelley was diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis in 2008 and it caused her white blood cells to attack her liver.
She was put on the liver transplant list in October 2011 and four months later was given a donor organ during in operation at London’s King College Hospital.
But the nursery nurse from Belvedere, Kent, was re-admitted in July 2012 for five days of intense antibiotic treatment, where she first met lift engineer Wayne.
He had his first liver transplant in 2009 after inflamed bile ducts led to organ damage.
But his body rejected the organ over time, and he was admitted back into hospital in early 2012 to wait for another organ.
The pair met while they were wearing their pyjamas in the TV room and instantly hit it off, taking short trips out of the ward for coffee and talking about their experiences.
Shelley was discharged from hospital, but left sleeping Wayne a note with her phone number and asked him to keep in touch.
Three days later she got a call from his son Jack, now 21, saying his dad had gone in for his operation, and a few days later Wayne called for a chat.
Shelley said: “We were in the day TV room and I was just talking to Wayne and watching TV, just asking each other what we were in for and chatting.
“We went out as well for coffee, out of the hospital, just to have a chat.
“I was just in my pyjama bottoms and a vest top [when we met] and my hair was a mess, but we got on well and just clicked.”
Shelley started visiting him until he was discharged a few weeks later and the couple got closer.
Father-of-two Wayne, also from Belvedere, proposed to Shelley during a cruise to Norway last year.
The pair – who even return to the hospital for their check-ups together – tied the knot at the Bridgewood Manor Hotel in Chatham, Kent, on July 25.
They attended the British Transplant Games on July 30 where Shelley is competing in the darts, 5km walk and badminton, and Wayne in archery, and the ball throw.
They are also both competing in the ten pin bowling event at the four-day games held for transplant patients of all kinds.
“There is a gala dinner with an awards ceremony where everyone gets dressed up,” she said.
“It is a big part of our lives so it just made sense to have our honeymoon here. We are also planning a cruise next year.”