He Realized Something Was Terribly Wrong After His Girlfriend Requested a Neck Massage
Young love is special. You never know what it might blossom into and the unexpected roads it will lead you down. But for Emmy Collett and Jake Coates, their story is one of perseverance and strength. After meeting in grade school, the two ended up reconnecting almost a decade later. It resulted in a modern-day love story that is truly heartwarming. However, not even Emmy and Jake were prepared for what unraveled during their journey.
Sweethearts Since Childhood
Emmy and Jake met when they were only 11 years old in grade school. He was from Monmouth, Wales while she was from Luckington, Wiltshire. The bond they developed in primary school was strong.
It started as just a schoolyard crush and soon became a budding love. Over the years, their connection grew and although they didn't know it at the time, their relationship would drastically affect their future lives in ways they would have never fathomed.
An Innocent Crush
Although Emmy and Jake clearly liked each other, it took until they were 16 to admit their full feelings. From that point, they began dating for three years. "My 'schoolgirl crush' on Jake started almost 20 years ago when we were just 11 years old. We quickly became 'childhood sweethearts' and at 13 he told me that I was ‘his lobster,’" Emmy said.
Despite their fairytale-like love, they would soon have to make a tough decision...
Going Their Own Way...
High school was coming to an end and the two lovebirds had a pressing decision to make about their futures. "You are my everything & if you still can put up with me, I will marry you one day," Jake wrote in a note to Emmy at the time.
They were blessed with the opportunity to experience a first love with each other, but it was almost time for them to go off to university. As a result, the young couple went their separate ways.
Bringing The Flame Back
Although they were apart from each other, Emmy and Jake were able to stay close during their time at university. The close bond they had might have lost some of its luster but the love was still there. The two ended up reigniting their flame in 2015.
It may have been 10 years later for their romance to come back, it only seemed right they found their way back to each other. At this point, they were in their twenties and had careers in full swing. Everything seemed just right.
Going The Extra Mile
Nothing made these two happier than their lives coming full circle. It was as if destiny played their cards just right and they always were meant for each other. By now, Jake was working in Sydney while Emmy worked in London, but they were determined to make it work.
Not even 10,000 miles could deter the loving couple as they did whatever to stay connected. Using FaceTime every day, and traveling back and forth across the country were just a few of the strategies they used to upkeep their relationship.
This Is Real
Time continued to pass by and the lovers were thinking more and more about future lives together. When 2016 rolled around, Jake could hardly contain himself and was planning to make his note from the past come to fruition. In the note, he told her he wanted them to get married and now he was determined to follow through on that promise.
There are many young people who promise things like this but don't follow through. Jake wasn't that guy. He planned on proposing to her on a cliff in the Philippines to a backdrop of fireworks during a romantic trip.
And It All Changed
Before they ventured off to the tropics for their big adventure, Emmy was visiting Jake like she usually did in Australia. Their last blissful day together, she asked Jake man for one simple favor: to give her a neck massage.
Jake didn't think twice about the innocent request and gave Emmy a neck massage. Why wouldn't he? She was the person he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. But as he put his hands on her, he came across something that made him freeze...
"My Blood Ran Cold"
"We were sat in a restaurant on a Sunday afternoon – a really sunny, beautiful day – and I just put my hands around her neck from behind and I knew straight away [something was wrong]. My blood ran cold," Jake recalled about the fateful day.
Jake had discovered a lump on Emmy's neck and thought the worst. They were just two people in love without a care in the world, but now everything seemed scary.
A Crazy Discovery
In situations like this, you don't want to get anyone riled up without having real evidence of anything. "You don't want to worry someone so I didn’t shout 'Oh my God, Emmy, why didn’t you tell me about this’ or anything," Jake recalled. He just informed her that she needed to have it checked out promptly.
After Jake informed her to get a checkup, she did as soon as she got back to Britain the next day. The doctors had surprising news for the couple...
A Heartbreaking Diagnosis
The happy couple should have been excitedly prepping for their excursion to the Philippines, but Emmy's exam results came back and things changed. The couple went from preparing for their vacation to something much deeper.
An unfortunate and heartbreaking discover was brought to their attention. Emmy had become one of the youngest people in the country to develop a rare type of thyroid cancer. The doctors informed her that the cancer had spread to her lungs, liver, spine, and bones. Sadly, it was incurable...
"She had been complaining about not feeling great for a while but no one had ever felt her neck," Jake said looking back. The two were so young and could not have foreseen this as they were preparing to spend the rest of their lives together.
Only six months passed since the two got back together and Jake hopped on a plane and immediately flew back to Britain to be by Emmy's side. They were unconvinced that their love story had diminished...
Beginning The Brave Battle
Emmy and Jake already made up their mind to take on life together and decided not to let the disease defeat them. They confidently began to take it on, fully prepared for the battle of their young lives. Like pretty much everything else in life, Emmy approached the situation with her signature optimism.
"Believe it or not I am happier than ever. Love truly is the best drug and I have been totally smothered in it," Emmy said at the time. Friends and family members offered their support as she was admitted to the Royal Marsden Hospital in London.
Showing Continued Strength
There couldn't possibly be worse news than hearing there is no cure for the disease you have, right? Well to add insult to injury, specialists told Emmy she might have had a full recovery if she was diagnosed earlier. Then she was told she would not be able to have children.
Devastated even further by this news, it crushed her dream of becoming a mother. Still, the school teacher wouldn't take no for answer. There were still glimmers of hope on the horizon for Emmy.
The Beauty Of Love
A few weeks after the diagnosis that changed their lives, Jake pushed aside the idea he had of an extravagant proposal. Instead, he didn't waste another moment and asked Emmy for her hand in marriage over a cup of tea in bed.
Without hesitation, she said yes! Soon-to-be Emmy Coates started planning for the wedding. Anticipating the big day gave her something to look forward to in the midst of the cancer treatments.
A Once In A Lifetime Trip
Emmy had a personal motto of "Smile, love and be kind." Rather than living in regret, the two decided to make the most of every second they had left together living by Emmy's motto.
The two lovebirds "ran away" to Dubai for a little five-day getaway. They just wanted to live every moment to the fullest and also needed a quick vacation. When the couple arrived back from their trip, Emmy would begin an inspiring endeavor.
Biking For Charity
Emmy was never the type of person to feel sorry for herself. She thrilled everyone around her by continuing to stay productive and positive. Not only did she not stay in bed during her trying cancer treatment, but Emmy was also active and fund-raised nonstop with Jake for the Royal Marsden Hospital.
A true showing of their sense of adventure and willingness to help others, the couple amazingly raised more than $195,000 for the hospital. They did so by bike riding across Europe from London to Copenhagen. They even got matching tattoos to mark the occasion.
Happiest Day Ever
Emmy and Jake started as childhood sweethearts that flourished into something beautiful. The two were not only life partners, but they were soulmates as well. They had gone through years of separation, long distance relations, and a lot of ups and downs overall.
In September of 2016, the couple tied the knot and everyone was in tears. The future might have been unclear at that point, but that didn't stop the bride from smiling uncontrollably. Jake couldn't sleep the night before citing that he was about to "marry this girl, the love of my life."
In Sickness And In Health
Because of the touching situation these two were in, Emmy and Jake began receiving public awareness. Using her teaching experience and skills as a writer, Emmy began writing some children's books during her treatment time. On top of that, Jake won ITV Fundraiser of the Year at the Pride of Britain Awards.
The couple's celebrity was facilitated partly through a blog Emmy had started. She might not have known it at the time, but her blog would lead to another amazing event...
Despite all that was going on, the two starting planning to grow their small family and become parents like they always hoped of. The doctors had told Emmy she wouldn't be able to give birth, so she wrote about her plans to have a surrogate and women started coming forward to offer help.
The idea of a baby helped keep them positive and kept them upbeat even during their darkest days. Since they didn't know how much time they had left together, a specialist took samples from the parent hopefuls to create nine viable embryos.
Here Comes An Old Schoolmate
One woman who was touched by the couple's story emerged and she was their former schoolmate. Liz Begg was 32, a mother already, and lived nearby. "I didn't really know them at school but when Emmy started sharing her story on her blog, I knew I wanted to help," Liz said.
Once Liz contacted Emmy through the blog, they agreed to meet up along with Jake. "Emmy was just something else – an incredible person and so positive," Liz explained.
One Word, Angel
As the chemotherapy continued, the three old schoolmates met a few more times and realized Liz was perfect person. Jake and Emmy described Liz as their angel and went with her to to the implantation procedure. They sat by her the whole time.
Three weeks later, Liz took a pregnancy test to see the long-awaited results that would determine if she was going to carry the couple's baby. This would allow Emmy to live on no matter what happened...
Jake Uses His Experience
Naturally, Jake's experience and training as a doctor helped tremendously while supporting his sweetheart through her cancer battle. He was able to giver her injections, tend to her stitches, and monitor the situation with an eagle eye.
Jake called this privilege a "double-edged sword." Having that much responsibility was great because he could handle her like no one else could. It also meant he had to answer all the tough questions as well. A gift and a curse it was.
The Hardest Question
Being able to support Emmy even better than a person without medical experience was a huge advantage, but Jake often found himself in a difficult position. When Emmy asked tough questions about her medical condition, Jake would struggle to answer the questions truthfully.
Jake would have to put on his professional hat that served as a defense mechanism for him. Jake did find comfort in being able to decode the medical jargon for Emmy helping her understand.
A Marvelous Development
Three weeks went by after Liz had her procedure and three reunited. "We sat around a table and watched three pregnancy tests turn positive one after the other," Jake said. The excitement grew as things started to look more positive.
"To experience that moment with Emmy and see the hope in her eyes was incredible," Liz said. "That was the most perfect day we ever spent together." Unfortunately, that would be the last day Liz would speak to Emmy.
Until The End
"Less than an hour after doing the tests Emmy could barely keep her eyes open – the tank was truly empty. Truth be told, Emmy never fully woke up," Jake tragically recalled. Jake was next to Emmy in her last moments after an 18-month thyroid cancer battle.
Jake could only be comforted by the thought of one thing after becoming a widower. "She died blissfully in the knowledge we were going to have our baby."
Gracious Even In Grief
His world was crashing down while he was dealing with the death of his wife, but things got worse when he found out the surrogate's pregnancy wasn't successful. Jake gave surrogacy two more tries before completely pausing that idea.
Still, he was grateful for all that Liz was able to do in his time of need. "Liz has been the most selfless, kind, thoughtful and gorgeous person throughout this whole process," he said. Jake was also determined not to let grief overcome him...
Sent From Heaven
Jake described Emmy as: "My co-captain on my bike. My best friend. My lobster. My wife. And truly my hero." You can understand he was devasted by all of this. He admitted that there wasn't a moment that passes by that he doesn't think of her.
"I can't look to the passenger seat whilst driving the car without the deepest ache spreading across my chest," Jake commented. He said he believes that the first baby is up in heaven with Emmy.
The story of Jake and Emmy's love became a highly publicized sensation in Britain. The death of Emmy couldn't stop the pair from being the topic of conversation thanks to how heartfelt the story was.
A personal development in Jake's life would cause a stir a few months later. Even though he carried her love with him, it appeared that he still had room for happiness. Around eight months into the grieving process, Jake revealed he had found love again...
Going Forward Without Forgetting
At the start of 2018, Jake made a promise to run 10 marathons in two months to raise funds for The Royal Marsden Hospital in memory of Emmy. One of the destinations he went to was Iceland where he was joined by his new love, Jenna Selby.
Jake was attempting to piece back heart together and made a post on social media about his new "gorgeous little ragamuffin." It was a change from the bittersweet memories of his late wife and he gained a huge response...
Holding On To Happiness
While Jake was finding happiness with the new lady in his life, people on social media began to talk. They pointed out that Jenna had a striking resemblance to Emmy and started to call her a lookalike.
There were those who followed the story and showed support to Jake as he was able to open his heart again, but there were others who criticized him for finding love "too soon."
Where Was The Love?
Nothing in life goes 100 percent how you want it to. While many supported Jake and Jenna, there were those who weren't on the bandwagon. The main critique was that he went public with this new love for all of the world to see, even Emmy's family.
On the other hand, many supported by saying Jake deserved to find happiness. He had been through a lot, but one of the people commenting happened to be Emmy's sister, Sophie.
Jake explained that despite all that he has gone through, he summoned the strength to move forward living by the philosophy of doing his absolute best every day and doing anything that will keep him happy.
"The odd negative comments that have been written (by people that don't know me or have any understanding of my life or what I have been through) have been deleted because I don’t have any space in my life for negativity," he said.
Getting His Sunshine Back
Jake reflected on how Jenna entered his life. "No one was more surprised than me," he said. He added that: “They [Jenna and her child] have both brought the sunshine back into my life and given me the nudge I so desperately needed to start living life to the full again.”
Jake praised Jenna for her support and help despite everything that had gone on. Even though Jake was starting to look into the future, he still made it obvious that he'll never forget Emmy...
Jake wasn't able to live out his dream of having a child with his childhood sweetheart. He already had two failed surrogate attempts with Liz, so the risk of another failed attempt would have been extraordinarily painful for him.
Thanks to his past experiences, Jake's time spent with Jenna's little boy was all the more touching and meaningful. The couple appear to be smitten with each other and there is no slowing down as they enjoy doing everything together.
With everything Jake went through and his work as a physician, he knew all too well the hardships that cancer patients go through while they try and recover. This is why he made it a point to volunteer at The Royal Marsden Hospital every day.
Jake runs an art class for the youth at the hospital. He shares his experiences with the people he meets on his Instagram to help raise awareness of their unbridled courage and their struggles.
Once Jake made the announcement of running 10 marathons for charity, his social followers stepped up to the challenge as well and donated roughly $9,000 to the Emmy Coates Fund and The Royal Marsden Hospital.
Jake miraculously managed to complete nine marathons in eight weeks in what was a touching tribute to his late wife. In one of his Facebook posts, Jake said that he had to drive over 2,000 miles, pay extra in entry fees, and he lost a toenail. However, he said it was all worth it.
Tara And Tyrone
Because she was a primary school teacher, Emmy had a personal place in her heart for children and children's books. During her fight with cancer, Emmy would spend her time writing kid's books of her own to help keep her mind off the pain.
The books were inspired by the bike and trailer she and Jake had with the nicknames of Tara and Tyrone. She wrote the text while Jake used his illustration skills. They even began their own publishing business together...
The Third Time's A Charm
During her chemo, Emmy managed to knock out two Tara and Tyrone books. She titled them Tara and Tyrone - Stuck in The Mud, and Tara and Tyrone - Pedro The Pump. Both of them were illustrated by Jake.
Emmy also was capable of finishing the majority of book number three Tara and Tyrone - Lost at Sea before she passed away. Jake did his best to finish the book as close to how Emmy would have wanted. All the money earned from these books are donated to The Royal Marsden Hospital.
A Powerful Message
A few years ago, Jake would have never expected this would be the path he'd be going down now as he travels a new road. He still determined to keep the memory of Emmy alive and spread her message. "I still talk to Emmy every day," he wrote in a tribute to his late wife.
He added another word of advice to others. "Go to your husband or your wife. Your partner or your lover. Embrace them. Hold them that little bit longer…."