Melbourne Woman Who Lost Her Husband To Cancer Is Taking A Cut Out Of Him Around The World
When you're with someone, you make plans with them under the guise that you'll have plenty more years ahead. You might set course for parenthood or getting into the property market together.
Whatever it is, it's a commitment you make to each other with the hope you'll find yourself on the other side of that goal one day.
Well, Michelle Bourke and her husband Paul made a promise to go travelling together when they found the time. Sadly, Paul died of skin cancer before he could fulfil their plans.
"It started as a rash on the side of his neck, like a shaving rash, but it was widespread," Michelle recalls to 9 Honey. "A week later it turned black, so he went back to the doctor for a biopsy and found out it was melanoma."
When they wound up removing the cancer, they found the disease had spread to other parts of his body.
Two years after the surgery, Paul was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma after discovering a lump on his neck. When that was removed, Paul thought he was out of the woods. but then doctors found another melanoma on his middle back, which could have just been the original one. He took a turn for the worse and his health declined to the point where he was in a wheelchair for his final days.
Before he died, Paul asked his wife of 25 years what she was going to do when he was gone.
"I'm going to go travelling, as we'd planned," she told Sunrise.
"I said I'm going to take a photo of you or I'm going to do something, probably a cardboard cut-out of you, and I'm going to pack you in my suitcase and I'm going to go."
She's taken her life-sized cut out of her husband on a massive trip around the world, visiting Buckingham Palace, Stonehenge, New York, Scotland, Singapore and Ireland.
She's hoping to nick off to Hong Kong later this year and you can be sure that old mate will be by her side.
"Paul had a quirky, weird sense of humour and I think he dared me to do this - and he knew I would do it," she said.
Michelle has created a book of her travels, detailing the reasons why she went on her strange yet heart-warming journey. Hopefully she gets to take her cardboard husband to other places and they get to fulfil the promise they made to each other.
Featured Image Credit: Sunrise/Channel 7