Patient Cas Willow and her partner of 17 years, Heather Richards, have married in a moving ceremony in Peter Mac’s Wellbeing Centre. It was in one of the nation’s first same-sex marriages after the waiting period that could have prevented the couple from marrying until 9 January was waived on medical grounds.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, Minister for Health Jill Hennessy and Minister for Equality Martin Foley also joined with the couple’s close family and friends, and many Peter Mac staff, to celebrate their 18 December wedding.
The Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages presented the newlyweds with the first official marriage certificate for a same sex couple in Victoria.
Peter Mac became aware of Cas and Heather’s wish to marry around the time of the parliamentary vote on marriage equality and, after discussions focused on Cas’ health, they accepted an offer to host a wedding at Peter Mac as soon as possible.
See Cas and Heather's moving story here:
All goods and services - from the wedding cake to rings, catering and decorations – were donated by the broader Peter Mac family ensuring no cost to Cas and Heather. The Executive Director of Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation, Jennifer Doubell, is also a marriage celebrant and she officiated on the day.
Director of Wellbeing Geri McDonald says the wedding was a celebration of Cas and Heather's passion for living life to its fullest.
"It was also an incredibly moving expression of Peter Mac’s holistic approach to cancer care," Geri said.
"Thank you to our dedicated staff who helped to make Cas and Heather's dream a reality.
"Thank you also to our community and suppliers who generously donated their time, goods and services to create a memorable event for Cas and Heather, and their families."
The couple’s request for donations to the Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation instead of wedding gifts has raised more than $8000.
On the wedding day, Premier Andrews also made a $50,000 contribution from the Victorian government. You can still donate here.
Receiving their certified marriage certificate. From left: Minister for Health Jill Hennessy, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, Minister for Equality Martin Foley, Peter Mac’s Board Chair Maxine Morand and Peter Mac’s Chief Executive Dale Fisher congratulate the newlyweds. The wedding cake was rainbow-coloured on the inside.
Peter Mac acknowledges the generosity of the many supporters of Cas and Heather’s wedding – including the Victorian Government and many suppliers and businesses including: