A grieving mother whose teenage son died days after marrying his school sweetheart on his hospital death-bed said yesterday: “I have the best daughter-in-law in the world.”
Brave Omar Al Shaikh, 16, tied the knot with Amie Cresswell, 16, in a heart-breaking ceremony at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham on June 19.
Over 20 friends and relatives watched on as he held his new bride – who wore her pink prom dress – in his arms during the Islamic service.
Tragically, Omar lost his battle with leukaemia just three days later and passed away with his mother Mirabela, 39, and Amie holding his hands at 7.05pm on June 22.
The teenager proposed to his girlfriend, who he met at secondary school, just hours after discovering that he had just days to live on June 14.
Omar made a ring out of a flower and even struggled to get out of his wheelchair onto one knee as he placed it on Amie’s finger during a walk in the hospital grounds.
The pair were given permission to wed by the parents and Amie spent every night by Omar’s bedside until he passed away.
Nurses even pulled up a second bed to make a double-sized bed for Amie and Mirabela to sleep with the teenager on their wedding night.
Single mum-of-two Mirabela, who lives in Brierley Hill, West Mids., says her son “wanted the whole world to see him marry Amie”.
She added: “They loved each other very much. I have lost Omar but I have gained the best daughter-in-law in the world.
“They were in school together and when Omar was first sick and diagnosed in June last year she was a good friend and always visited.
“He was cleared at the end of October and came home and we had a party for his 16th birthday and that was the day when they fell in love.
“Then he was diagnosed again in March and she used to stay over at the hospital with him every weekend.
“The minute she found out he only had days left to live she went to his bedside and stayed there every night.
“Omar’s intention was to marry her in the future because he loved her so I supported him when he proposed.
“There was lots of tears and he was in the wheelchair but he event tried to get on his knee, it was beautiful.
“All my family were at the wedding, there were around 20 people there.
“It was a very moving ceremony and I felt proud watching him.”
Mum-of-three Jo Khalaf, 39, who got friendly with the family because her son Sam is also battling leukaemia, added: “It was very sad, but really lovely.
“Omar just couldn’t stop smiling, it was really nice.
“My daughter was in an Elsa dress, and I put a little bit of make-up on Amie. There was the ceremony, some prayers and then they signed the register
“Omar said: ‘she is always going to be my wife’.”
Amie, who has changed her Facebook profile to her married name, said: “It was a special moment. I will never forget Omar. He was everything to me.”
Former Air Cadet Omar was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia after fainting during a football match in June last year.
He was told he had just three months to find a suitable stem cell donor in March this year but struggled because of his mixed Arabic and Romanian heritage.
But tragically, by the time stem cells could be found, thanks to an umbilical cord transfer, Omar was too ill to have the transplant.
After his last round of chemotherapy, doctors said the treatment had been unsuccessful, and the cancer had gone into his bone marrow.
Over 50 family members and friends attended his funeral at Brierley Hill Crematorium near the family home on June 23.
Mirabela, who also has a daughter Dana, 12, added: “We pulled the beds together so they could have a big bed.
“There were three or four of us in it but Omar was happy, he never wanted to be alone. We all held his hand at the end and kept kissing him over and over.”
“From Saturday evening he had so much pain and they gave him morphine so he was very sleepy but it was all very peaceful.”
Friends and family of Omar are urging people to sign up to the Anthony Nolan Register to save others going through the same heartbreak.
Henny Braund, chief executive of Anthony Nolan, said: “Everyone at Anthony Nolan was deeply saddened to hear of the heartbreaking death of Omar Al Shaikh.
“Our heartfelt sympathies go out to his family and we are thinking of them at this extremely difficult time.
“Omar was an extremely brave young man who inspired huge numbers of potential donors to join the register.
“Consequently, he leaves behind a truly life-saving legacy which will continue to have a positive impact on the lives of others for many decades to come.”