"Daniel had a heart of gold. He was a pure, kind, loving father; loving husband; loving friend. He really was my dream man. And he'll always be my soulmate."
Hayley Weston first met the love of her life, Dan, when they were both teenagers, and she immediately thought he was 'stunningly good looking'.
It wasn't until 2011, when the pair were in their 30s, that they really connected though, when Dan messaged Hayley on Facebook and they went on a date to the pub, where they sat until it was 'kicking out time'.
"He was just such a funny, warm, loving person," Hayley told LADbible. "He was just so authentic and so kind and so thoughtful."
From that point on Dan was saved in Hayley's phone as 'hot Dan', and before long the pair were spending entire weekends together, watching True Blood, eating ice cream and just enjoying each other's company.
Now, following a devastating cancer diagnosis, Hayley is having to face life without him. You can donate to support the family here.
Dan popped the question exactly a year after their first date. He'd planned an elaborate proposal in Greece, but, unable to wait, instead proposed three days earlier when the pair were just chatting one day.
He wasn't a particularly 'demonstrative' person, Hayley said, but she found out later that Dan told his friends 'he knew [Hayley] was the one he was going to marry and have kids with' after just three dates.
After getting married in 2013, the pair soon got pregnant with their first child, Raphael, who they welcomed in 2014.
In 2017, Raphael was followed by a younger sister, Leia. Bet you can't guess what film series Dan was a fan of?
The kids idolised Dan - the 'fun dad' who would give his kids money to spend at the toy shop, and make waffles topped with ice cream, Oreos, marshmallows and syrup for breakfast at the weekend.
Much like the rest of the world, Hayley remembers the day Britain first went into lockdown in March 2020. But she remembers it for a different reason.
That day, Dan was taken to hospital, alone, with stomach pains. After a CT scan, he called Hayley to tell her what was going on: he had bowel cancer.
"I was just floored," she said. "It was terrifying. I was a nervous wreck. I couldn't go and be with him because we weren't allowed to be in the hospital. I couldn't even take his things to him. I literally felt sick."
Dan underwent an operation before beginning chemotherapy, which caused him to suffer 'every single side effect that could possibly happen'.
Medics decided 'the risk of the chemo was higher than the risk of the cancer returning', so Dan stopped treatment and the family carried on with their lives, making plans to move into a new home.
Unfortunately the odds were against Dan, and in October 2020 he learned the cancer had returned in his liver. He underwent another operation while Hayley moved the family into their new home, where she turned one of the rooms into a recovery room for Dan.
By July 2021 the cancer had spread, but despite undergoing chemotherapy again, the family learned in February 2023 that it could not be cured.
"We sat for days just crying," Hayley said. "That is the first time I thought, 'I'm gonna lose him'. But we thought we had years."
Sadly, the time Dan had left with his family was much shorter than any of them had hoped. He passed away on 9 June, having said goodbye to all of his loved ones, and sharing his final words with Hayley: "I love you always."
Dan had been the sole breadwinner for the family after Hayley gave up her job with the arrival of their children, and the mum found herself flooded with support both in the weeks leading up to, and after, Dan's death.
Her friends set up a food rota to ensure she and the children have meals on the table, and her best friend created a crowdfunding page to help support the family until Hayley is ready and able to get a new job.
The fundraiser has a goal of £50,000, and is currently just under halfway there.
"Dan's dying wish was that the kids stay in this house. I don't have any income at the moment, but I need to find a way to be able to [make that wish come true]," Hayley said.
"[The fundraiser] means the world to me. It's everything to be able to keep the home that we made all these memories in, the home that Dan died in... He wanted [the kids] to stay here.
"Everyone's been so kind of generous. Even people that didn't know me who have given donations."
In the first weeks after Dan's death, Hayley is focusing on looking after her children while also dealing with her own grief.
She doesn't have any answers when Raphael and Leia ask why their dad had to die, but the children have gifts from their father that will remind them of him, and are relying on videos and voice notes to help remember him.
In a eulogy for Dan's funeral, a Rabbi - the same one who married Dan and Hayley - said his funeral wasn't 'supposed to happen', just one short decade after they tied the knot.
His family now have to navigate a life without him, with Hayley admitting she 'doesn't know how [she's] going to start again'. But she knows one thing: "I was lucky to have known and loved him for as long as I did."
If you'd like to donate to the fundraiser for Dan's family, you can do so here.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence, contact Macmillan’s Cancer Support Line on 0808 808 00 00, 8am–8pm seven days a week.Featured Image Credit: Supplied